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Jessica Hunt

Associate Professor, Mathematics Education, Special Education

Friday Institute Fellow

Poe Hall 528D



Dr. Jessica Hunt began her career in education as a middle school mathematics in a technology demonstration school in Florida. From that work, she grew to love teaching students at risk for mathematics difficulties or who had cognitive differences (LD) that resulted in specific learning strengths and challenges. Hunt argues that mathematics instruction should work to (a) uncover students’ strengths, (b) give them access to their mathematical reasoning, and (c) support its advance.

Research Description

Dr. Hunt’s research supports a re-conceptualization of research and instructional practice across mathematics education and special education such that students with disabilities can build mathematics proficiency.

Mounting empirical evidence across both fields suggests educational disparities these students experience are caused by opportunity gaps that stem from remedial instruction as opposed to affording students access to their own reasoning from which to build proficiency and agency in mathematics.

Her work has three focal areas:

  • (a) Documenting initial or informal conceptual understandings of students with LD within targeted mathematical areas (e.g., number; rational number),
  • (b) Documenting and refining trajectories of how conceptual knowledge grows within the targeted areas occurs and can be nurtured through instruction,
  • (c) Designing and testing new instructional programs and practices based upon students’ trajectories of learning.

Dr. Hunt’s current projects, "Fraction Activities and Assessment for Conceptual Teaching", “Model Mathematics Education”, and “Professional Learning Online Modules: Math for Young Children” are funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Institute for Educational Sciences (IES). Hunt received NSF’s Early CAREER Research Award to fund her program of research. She currently works with partner school districts, principals, teachers, and their students to support and extend student learning of number, rational number, and multiplicative reasoning.

  1. Model Mathematics Education (ModelME): This three-year project funded though the ITEST competition from the National Science Foundation (NSF) will develop a game that will test an integrated curriculum for students with learning disabilities and difficulties in fourth through sixth grade, with the goal of increasing understanding of and engagement in fraction concepts. The game, which will be piloted with 140 students in North Carolina and Florida, will allow students to virtually step into one of five different STEM or information and communication technology (ICT) career roles. As they play, students will encounter opportunities to solve universally-designed fraction problems embedded in real-world occupations, such as nursing or civil engineering. The system will utilize executive function scaffolds and cognitive tutoring to support students’ unique abilities as they play.
  2. Professional Learning Online Modules (PLOM): This two-year project is funded by the Institute for Educational Sciences (IES) and will facilitate the development and study of two new professional online learning modules, including “Teaching Math to Young Children”, which will evidence-based principles and instructional materials to support the mathematical learning of young children.
  3. Fraction Activities and Assessment for Conceptual Teaching (FAACT): This five-year CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation (NSF) documented learning trajectories in fractional reasoning for students with learning disabilities. It also developed and tested a curriculum to be utilized in intervention settings to bolster concepts of fractions in 4th, 5th, and 6th grade.


Post-doctoral Studies from The University of Texas at Austin in 2012
Ph.D. in Special Education/Mathematics Education from University of Central Florida in 2011

Curriculum Vitae


Selected Scholarly Publications

  • Nelson, G., Hunt. J.H., Martin, K., Patterson, B., & Khounmeuang, A. (in press). Current knowledge and future directions in proportional reasoning interventions. Learning Disabilities Quarterly.
  • Hunt, J.H., & Silva, J. (2020). Emma's negotiation of number: Implicit intensive intervention. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 51(3), 334-360.
  • Hunt, J. H., Silva, J., & Lambert, R. (2019). Empowering students with specific learning disabilities: Jim’s concept of unit fraction. The Journal of Mathematical Behavior, 56, 100738.
  • Hunt. J.H., MacDonald, B. & Silva, J. (2019). Gina’s mathematics: Thinking, “tricks”, or teaching? The Journal of Mathematical Behavior, 10007.
  • Hunt, J.H., MacDonald, B., Lambert, R., Sugita, T., & Silva, J. (2018). Think, pair, show, share to increase classroom discourse. Teaching Children Mathematics (Focus Issue- Invited contribution), 25(2), 80-84.
  • Lynch, S., Hunt, J.H., & Lewis, K. (2018). Productive struggle for all: Differentiated instruction. Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School (Linking Research and Practice Outstanding Publication Award), 24(4), 194-201.
  • Hunt, J.H. & Tzur, R. (2017). Where is difference? Processes of mathematical remediation through a constructivist lens. The Journal of Mathematical Behavior, 48, 62-76.
  • Hunt, J.H., Valentine, C.A., Bryant, D.P., Pfannenstiel, K., & Bryant, B. (2016). Supplemental mathematics interventions: How and why special educators intensify interventions for students with learning disabilities. Remedial and Special Education, 37(2), 78-88.
  • Hunt, J.H., Welch-Ptak, J., & Silva, J. (2016). Initial understandings of fraction concepts evidenced by students with learning disabilities and difficulties: A framework. Learning Disabilities Quarterly, 39(4), 213-225.
  • Hunt, J.H., Tzur, R., & Westenskow, A. (2016). Evolution of unit fraction conceptions in two fifth-graders with learning disability: An exploratory study. Mathematical Thinking and Learning, 18(3), 182-208.
  • Hunt, J.H., Westenskow, A., Silva, J., & Ptak, J.W. (2016). Levels of participatory conception of fractional quantity along a series of equal sharing tasks: Stu’s trajectory. The Journal of Mathematical Behavior, 41, 45-67.
  • Tzur, R., & Hunt, J.H. (2015). Iteration: Unit fraction knowledge and the French fry tasks. Teaching Children Mathematics (Focus Issue), 22(3), 149-157.
  • Hunt, J.H. (2015). Understanding the diverse mathematical thinking of learners. Australian Primary Mathematics Classroom, 20(2), 15-21.
  • Hunt, J.H. & Empson, S. (2015). Exploratory student of informal strategies for equal sharing problems of students with learning disability. Learning Disabilities Quarterly, 38(4), 208-220.

Courses Taught

  • EMS 770 Foundations of Mathematics Education
  • ECI 682 Specific Numeracy Techniques for Students with Mild Disabilities
  • ECI 585 Education of Children with Exceptionalities

Honors and Awards

  • National Science Foundation CAREER Award: Fraction Activities and Assessments for Conceptual Teaching
  • National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) Linking Research and Practice Outstanding Publication Award

Editorial Boards

  • Consulting Editor: Learning Disabilities Quarterly
  • Guest Associate Editor: Investigations in Mathematics Learning (Equity Focus)

Services and Engagements

  • Steering Committee: North American Chapter of the Psychology of Mathematics Education (Elected)
  • Reviewer: Journal of Learning Disabilities
  • Reviewer: Journal for Research in Mathematics Education
  • Reviewer: Learning Disabilities Quarterly
  • Reviewer: Journal of Mathematical Behavior
  • Reviewer: Remedial and Special Education
  • Co-Founder and Member: Special Education Working Group, PME and PME-NA (2012- present)
  • Co-Founder and Member: Complex Connections: Units Coordination Working Group, PME and PME-NA (2018-present)

Research Areas