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Researching Learning Challenges Overview

This year's competition focuses on the specific learning disability called Dyscalculia. Read the general overview below!

Researching Learning Challenges Competition Overview- TEAM COMPETITION

This year’s competition focuses on the specific learning disability called Dyscalculia.  The Learning Disability Association of America states that “Dyscalculia is associated with weaknesses in fundamental number representation and processing, which results in difficulties with quantifying sets without counting, using nonverbal processes to complete simple numerical operations, and estimating relative magnitudes of sets.  

Because these math skills are necessary for higher-level math problem solving, quantitative reasoning is likely impaired for these individuals.” (Citation  

Dyscalculia can impact:  

  1. Estimating a quantity without counting  

  2. Calculation skills  

  3. Using processes to solve equations  

  4. Mental math  

  5. Remembering steps in a sequence  

  6. Reading graphs or charts  

  7. Remembering dates and deadlines  

  8. Counting change  

  9. Navigation skills  


The purpose of this competition is to work collaboratively to learn more about this specific learning challenge and to produce a research-supported position paper and presentation to explain and advocate for positive practices in schools to support the education of students with dyscalculia. Imagine that the local school board has asked you: “What specific steps should we take to support the education of students with dyscalculia? Also, why should we accept your recommendations?  


Team members should research dyscalculia and best practices to support the education of students with this learning challenge. You are encouraged to embark on this research using traditional sources as well as primary sources (ex. conducting interviews with individuals impacted by this disability or professionals who support individuals with this disability, etc.). Then team members should discuss the research in order to determine recommendations for their paper and presentation.  

Team members will collaborate on a research-supported position paper, which will be no shorter than four full pages and no longer than six full pages, to offer their recommendations. The minimum number of student collaborators is two, but there is no maximum. The position paper must include cited references (MLA, APA, or Chicago style are acceptable) and a works cited sheet, which will not count toward the four-to-six-page length requirement. (Also, the title page doesn’t count toward the length requirement. If you are unable to reach the minimum length required, resume the research process — there is a lot of quality material out there on this topic.) The position paper will be submitted with the competition application and will be scored by judges prior to the national conference.  

Competition Guidelines  

There are two components to this competition:  

  1. A position paper, submitted and scored by judges prior to the national conference, and  

  2. An interactive session (including a presentation) with judges on-site at national conference.  

  • The students’ papers will be sent in at least a week ahead of time, they will be scored prior to the competition date 

  • On the day of the competition, only the presentation component will be scored 

  • Students will present for up to 10 minutes on their research, using some type of visual presentation. 

  • After the presentation, the judges are encouraged to ask questions. 

  • The entire presentation and Q&A can last up to 15 minutes, total. 


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