scholarship on ELLs/language/diversity/equity

selected recent UTEP work on ELLs (English language learners) learning math/statistics and other language/diversity/equity topics. Some work was supported in part by the UT System LSAMP (Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation program, funded by NSF grant #HRD-0703584), or Project LEAP-UP (US Dept. of Education grant #T195N070132) or COURI (Campus Office of Undergraduate Research Initiatives) our work also explores matters of language, readability, culture, and context for all learners; asterisk denotes student collaborator


E. Villa, L. Lesser, E. Mein (conditionally accepted; expected 2022). Shifting PreCalculus from Gatekeeper to Gateway at a Hispanic-Serving Institution. In Matthew Voigt, Jess Ellis Hagman, Jessica Gehrtz, Brea Ratliff, Nathan Alexander, & Rachel Levy (Eds.), Justice through the lens of calculus: Framing new possibilities for diversity, equity, and inclusion (pp. 358-366). Washington, DC: Mathematical Association of America.  preprint published November 22, 2021 at

Megan Mocko, Amy Wagler, Lawrence Lesser, & Wendy Francis (2021). Which Mnemonics do College Students Recall, Explain, and Apply? Refereed poster, 9th United States Conference on Teaching Statistics.

Lesser, L. (2021). Connecting QL/SL/QR with Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI), annual meeting of the National Numeracy Network.

Lesser, L. (2020). Redesigning a statistics literacy course to help prepare pre-service teachers to teach (statistics to) English language learners. In Luciana C. de Oliveira & Marta Civil (Eds.), Teaching mathematics to English language learners: Preparing pre-service and in-service teachers (pp. 27-46). New York: Palgrave Macmillan. 

Lesser, L.M., & Wagler, A.E. (2019; available in 2020). Mathematics, statistics and (Jewish) culture: Reflections and connections. In Tod L. Shockey (Ed.), Culture that counts: A decade of depth with the Journal of Mathematics and Culture (pp. 415-436). Galena, Ohio: White Plum Publishing.

Lesser, L.M. (2019; available in 2020). Book of numbers: Exploring Jewish mathematics and culture at a Jewish high school. In Tod L. Shockey (Ed.), Culture that counts: A decade of depth with the Journal of Mathematics and Culture (pp. 459-474). Galena, Ohio: White Plum Publishing.

Lesser, L. (May 18, 2019). Statistics and culture: Considerations for teachers and researchers [roundtable], 9th United States Conference on Teaching Statistics, Penn State, State College, PA.

Monárrez, A.*, Galvan, L.*, Wagler, A., & Lesser, L. (Nov. 2018).  Range of meanings: A sequential mixed methods study of how English language learners encounter assessment items on descriptive statistics. Journal of Statistics Education, 26(3), 162-173.​ [related invited talk given for UTEP College of Education STEM-ers, April 19, 2019]

Wagler, A., & Lesser, L. (2018). Evaluation of theoretical and empirical characteristics of the Communication, Language And Statistics (CLASS) survey. Statistics Education Research Journal, 17(1), 141-164.,

Wagler, A., & Lesser, L. (2017). Helping English language learners navigate probability vocabulary and concepts. Selected breakout session at 7th United States Conference on Teaching Statistics, Pennsylvania State University, State College, PA.

Mocko, M., Lesser, L., Wagler, A., & Francis, W. (2017). Assessing effectiveness of mnemonics for tertiary students in a hybrid introductory statistics course.  Journal of Statistics Education25(1), 2-11. [related breakout session given by 1st first two authors at 9th United States Conference on Teaching Statistics] this article is listed as one of the journal’s most-read articles:

Lesser, L., Wagler, A., & *Salazar, B. (2016). Flipping between languages? An exploratory analysis of the usage by Spanish-speaking English language learner tertiary students of a bilingual probability applet. Statistics Education Research Journal15(2), 145-168.​,

Garibay, Lisa Y. (2016). Online Extra: Translating Statistics for Spanish Speakers [supplement to the cover story “Scientists Beyond Borders” of the Fall 2016 UTEP Magazine; see p. 39 of that story].

Lesser, L., & Wagler, A. (2016). Mathematics, statistics, and (Jewish) culture: Reflections on connections. Journal of Mathematics and Culture, 10(2), 127-156.

*Galvan, Lorena (2016). Analysis of English-language learner student reasoning about measures of center and variation: A triangulation of quantitative and qualitative data. Master’s thesis (committee: A. Wagler (chair), L. Lesser, & M. Jayasuriya; graduated May 2016)

Wagler, A. & Lesser, L. (2016). Using technology to increase readability of instructional materials. 3rd Electronic Conference on Teaching Statistics.

Lesser, L. & Wagler, A. (2016). Tools for assessing readability of statistics teaching materials. Journal of Computers in Mathematics and Science Teaching, 35(2), 153-171.

A. Wagler, L. Lesser,  *Ariel González, & *Luis Leal  (2015). Assessing the lexico-grammatical characteristics of a corpus of college-level statistics textbooks: Implications for instruction and practice. The Journal of Technical Writing and Communication, 45(1), 31-56.

Lesser, L. (2015). Learning language: A mathematics educator’s reflection on empathy and privilege. Teaching for Excellence and Equity in Mathematics6(1), 25-32.

Lesser, L. & Wagler. A. (2015). Best practices for responding to (the increasing) cultural and linguistic diversity of introductory statistics students: Research, resources and recommendations. Abstracts of the Joint Mathematics Meetings, San Antonio, TX.

Wagler, A. & Lesser, L. (2014). Assessing Dimensionality of the Communication, Language And Statistics Survey: A Multi-Group Analysis with Introductory Statistics Students Near the US-Mexico Border [refereed]. In K. Makar, B. de Sousa, & R. Gould (Eds.), Sustainability in statistics education. Proceedings of the Ninth International Conference on Teaching Statistics (ICOTS9, July, 2014), Flagstaff, Arizona, USA. Voorburg, The Netherlands: International Statistical Institute.

Lesser, L., Wagler, A., Esquinca, A., & *Valenzuela, M. G. (2013). Survey of native English speakers and Spanish-speaking English language learners in tertiary introductory statistics. Statistics Education Research Journal12(2), 6-31.,

Lesser, L. (2013). Using context to classify variables. Teaching Statistics35(1), 29-31.

*Salazar, Berenice (2012). Qualitative analysis of the usage by Spanish-speaking English language learners of resources for learning probability. Master’s thesis (committee:  L. Lesser (chair), A. Wagler, & R. Reyes; graduated December 2012 and received fall 2012 COS precommencement award as Outstanding Graduate Student in MAT-Mathematics)

*Monárrez, Angélica (2012). Analysis of differential item functioning on selected items assessing conceptual knowledge of descriptive statistics for Spanish-speaking ELL and non-ELL college students; Master’s thesis (committee: A. Wagler (chair), L. Lesser, & P. Espinosa; graduated August 2012);

Wagler, A., Lesser, L., *Monárrez, A., & *Salazar, B. (2012) English language learners in the statistics classroom: Research, resources, and recommendations. Invited paper, Joint Statistical Meetings, San Diego, CA.

Wagler, A. E., & Lesser, L. M. (2011). Teaching statistics to culturally and linguistically diverse students. Proceedings of the 2011 Joint Statistical Meetings, Section on Statistical Education (pp. 821-830). or

Lesser, L. (2011). Supporting learners of varying levels of English proficiency. Statistics Teacher Network, 77, 2-5.

Winsor, Matthew; *Pérez-Badillo, Ydalisse; Lewis, Gary; Lesser, Lawrence (2011).   A multi-state comparison of teachers’ beliefs about teaching English language learners mathematics [refereed]. In L. R. Wiest & T. Lamberg(Eds.), Proceedings of the 33rd Annual Meeting of the North American Chapter of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education (pp. 996-1005).   Reno, NV: University of Nevada, Reno.

Lesser, L. (2010). Equity and the increasingly diverse tertiary student population: challenges and opportunities in statistics education [invited and refereed]. In C. Reading (Ed.), Data and context in statistics education: Towards an evidence-based society. Proceedings of the Eighth International Conference on Teaching Statistics, Ljubljana, Slovenia. Voorburg, The Netherlands: International Statistical Institute.

Lesser, L. (2010). An ethnomathematics spin on statistics class. Notices of the North American Study Group in Ethnomathematics (NASGEm News), 3(2), 5-6.

Lesser, L. (2010). The Necessity of Equity in Teaching Statistics. Philosophy of Mathematics Education Journal, no. 25. (8 pp.) or

*González, Rosa Isela (2009). Survey research to assess secondary school teachers’ disposition and readiness for teaching mathematics to English language learners; Master’s thesis (committee: L. Lesser (chair), M. Tchoshanov, & M. Winsor; graduated Dec. 2009).

*Valenzuela, María Guadalupe (2009). Survey research on communication and language for English learner and native English speakers enrolled in a college course on statistics literacy; Master’s thesis (committee: L. Lesser (chair), A. Wagler, & M. Winsor; graduated December 2009).

Lesser, L. & Winsor, M. (2009). English language learners in introductory statistics: Lessons learned from an exploratory case study of two pre-service teachers. Statistics Education Research Journal8(2), 5-32.

Winsor, M. (2007). Bridging the language barrier in mathematics. Mathematics Teacher101(5), 372-378.

Lesser, L. (2006). Book of Numbers: Exploring Jewish mathematics and culture at a Jewish high school. Journal of Mathematics and Culture, 1(1), 8-31.

[other work in this area includes presentations at these local, state, or national meetings: the United States Conference on Teaching Statistics, UTEP’s COURI Symposium, Bilingual Educators Emphasizing and Mastering Standards (BEEMS) conference, UTEP CoED Mathematics Education Research Seminar, Texas Association for Bilingual Educators, International Sun Conference on Teaching and Learning, Conference for Advancement of Mathematics Teaching]

SELECTED CLASSROOM RESOURCESlist of terms compiled in 29+ languages by ISI at;  applets available in Spanish from and in Spanish, French, Danish, Arabic, Chinese from ; GAISE in Spanish:

STUDENT COLLABORATORS:  undergraduate Ariel I. González(LSAMP SRA support in summer 2012 and COURI support during 2012-13 school year) as well as a dozen graduate students (yielding 5 theses* and many more independent studies): Berenice Salazar*, Angélica Monárrez*, Saul A. Soto, Luis A. Leal, (Juan)Israel Favela, Heidi Heinrichs, Jennifer (Esparza) Hernandez, Diana Gomez, Edith Ortiz, Lorena Galvan*, Maria Guadalupe Valenzuela*, and Rosa Isela González*;  30+ other graduate students contributed other supporting efforts (e.g., peer debriefing, translating):  Orlando Pajon, Melissa Pugh, Heidi Arellano, Steven King, Oscar Madrid, Kyle Newman, Casey O’Dwyer, John Patrick, Pedro Reyes, Daniel Saldívar, Brenda Trumble, Guadalupe Valenzuela, Andy Waxman; Jorge Anaya, Erica Bernal, Fanny Bernal, James Bilbe, Israel Chavez, Sandra Cuevas, Jennifer Esparza, Susana Gonzales, Adam Gutierrez, Heidi Heinrichs, Carlos Hernandez, Suzana Jackson, Cole Joslyn, Perla Lampinstein, Norma Martinez, Frank Prieto, Blanca Rubio, Jeremy Sneed, and Saul Soto.