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Jessica Hunt

Associate Professor, Mathematics Education, Special Education

Friday Institute Fellow

Poe Hall 528D

View CV 


Dr. Jessica Hunt began her career in education as a middle school mathematics teacher in a technology demonstration school in Florida. From that work, she grew to love teaching students at risk for mathematics difficulties or disabilities. Hunt argues that mathematics instruction for these students should work to (a) uncover students’ strengths, (b) give them access to their mathematical reasoning, and (c) support the advance of that reasoning.

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 instruction that affords students access to their own reasoning from which to build in mathematics proficiency and agency. Her work has three focal areas:

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

Dr. Hunt’s current projects, “Model Mathematics Education”, “Fraction Activities and Assessment for Conceptual Teaching”, “At Home Learning Initiative”, and “Professional Learning Online Modules: Math for Young Children” are funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Institute for Educational Sciences (IES), and the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NC-DPI). 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.

  • 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.
  • At-Home Learning Initiative: The At-Home Learning Initiative helps promote remote learning access across the state, specifically for students who lack access to a stable internet connection. With funds from the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI) through the CARES Act, the Friday Institute facilitated the creation and implementation of 192 literacy and math lessons for PreK-5 students as part of the remote education initiative. 144 of those lessons for PreK-3 air on PBS North Carolina (PBS NC). Reaching over 30 million households statewide on free public television, the program addresses opportunity gaps due to access to quality early learning instruction. All 192 recorded lessons will be available on YouTube for free with accompanying lesson plans and extension activities accessible on GoOpenNC.
  • Professional Learning Online Modules (PLOM): This two-year project is funded by the Institute of Education 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.
  • 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.


Selected Scholarly Publications

  • Hunt, J. H., & Lewis, K. E. (2021). Extending Students’ Knowledge of Fractions as Relational Quantities. In D.P. Bryant (Ed.) Intensifying Mathematics Interventions for Struggling Students (p. 121-143). New York, N.Y.: The Guilford Press.
  • Hunt, J., & Stein, M. K. (2020). Constructing Goals for Student Learning through Conversation. Mathematics Teacher: Learning and Teaching PK-12, 113(11), 904-909.
  • Hunt, J. H., Martin, K., Khounmeuang, A., Silva, J., Patterson, B., & Welch-Ptak, J. (2020). Design, Development, and Initial Testing of Asset-Based Intervention Grounded in Trajectories of Student Fraction Learning. Learning Disability Quarterly, 0731948720963589.
  • Nelson, G., Hunt, J. H., Martin, K., Patterson, B., & Khounmeuang, A. (2020). Current Knowledge and Future Directions: Proportional Reasoning Interventions for Students with Learning Disabilities and Mathematics Difficulties. Learning Disability Quarterly, 0731948720932850.
  • 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 Linking Research and Practice 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)


Post-doctoral Studies The University of Texas at Austin 2012

Ph.D. Special Education/Mathematics Education University of Central Florida 2011