Ana Stephens


Ana Stephens is a Researcher at the Wisconsin Center for Education Research. Her research concerns the development of students' algebraic thinking in the elementary and middle grades.

Recent Publications:

Donovan, A. M., Stephens, A., Alapala, B., Monday, A., Szkudlarek, E., Alibali, M. W., & Matthews, P. G. (2022). Is a substitute the same? Learning from lessons centering different relational conceptions of the equal sign. ZDM–Mathematics Education, 54, 1199–1213.

Stephens, A., Sung, Y., Strachota, S., Veltri Torres, R., Morton, K., Murphy Gardiner, A., Blanton, M., Knuth, E., & Stroud, R. (2022). The Role of Balance Scales in Supporting Productive Thinking about Equations Among Diverse Learners. Mathematical Thinking and Learning, 24(1), 1–18.

Stephens, A., Veltri Torres, R., Sung, Y., Strachota, S., Murphy Gardiner, A., Blanton, M., Stroud, R., & Knuth, E. (2021). From "You have to have three numbers and plus sign" to "It's the exact same thing": K–1 students learn to think relationally about equations. Journal of Mathematical Behavior. 62.

Stephens, A., Stroud, R., Strachota, S., Stylianou, D., Blanton, M., Knuth, E., & Gardiner, A. M. (2021). What early algebra knowledge persists one year after an elementary grades intervention? Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 52(3), 332–348.

Blanton, M., Stroud, R., Stephens, A., Gardiner, A., Stylianou, D., Knuth, E., Isler, I., & Strachota, S. (2019). Does early algebra matter? The effectiveness of an early algebra intervention in grades 3–5. American Educational Research Journal, 56(5), 1930–1972.

Blanton, M., Isler-Baykal, I., Stroud, R., Stephens, A., Knuth, E., & Murphy Gardiner, A. (2019). Growth in children’s understanding of generalizing and representing mathematical structure and relationships. Educational Studies in Mathematics, 102, 193–219.

Blanton, M., Brizuela, B., Stephens, A., Knuth, E., Isler, I., Gardiner, A., Stroud, R., Fonger, N., & Stylianou, D. (2018). Implementing a framework for early algebra. In C. Kieran (Ed.), Teaching and Learning Algebraic Thinking with 5- to 12-year-olds. The Global Evolution of an Emerging Field of Research and Practice (pp. 27–49). Springer International Publishing.

Fonger, N. L., Stephens, A., Blanton, M., Isler, I., Knuth, E., Gardiner, A. (2018). Developing a learning progression for curriculum, instruction, and student learning: An example from mathematics education. Cognition and Instruction, 36(1), 30-55.

Stephens, A., Ellis, A., Blanton, M., & Brizuela, B. (2017). Algebraic thinking in the elementary and middle grades. In J. Cai (Ed.). Compendium of research on mathematics teaching and learning (pp. 386-420). Reston, VA: National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.

Stephens, A. C., Fonger, N. L., Strachota, S., Isler, I., Blanton, M., Knuth, E., & Gardiner, A. (2017). A learning progression for elementary students’ functional thinking. Mathematical Thinking and Learning, 19(3), 143-166.

Stephens, A. & Knuth, E. (2017). Algebraic reasoning in grades 6-8. In M. Battista (Ed.). Reasoning and Sense Making in the Mathematics Classroom: Grades 6-8 (pp. 47-71). Reston, VA: National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.


Curriculum Vitae

Contact Information
Phone: (608) 890-4374
Office: 683 Ed Sciences

Current Projects

A Longitudinal Exploration of Relations Between Fractions and Algebra Knowledge: An Interdisciplinary Approach
A Longitudinal Exploration of Relations Between Fractions and Algebra Knowledge: An Interdisciplinary Approach (UW-Eau Claire Subaward Account)

Completed Projects

Anchoring Problems in Technology-Rich Environments to Enhance the Math Skills of Adolescents with Disabilities
Advancing the Math Skills of Low-Achieving Adolescents in Technology-Rich Learning Environments
Revision of the Mathematics in Context Materials
Developing Algebra-Ready Students for Middle School: Exploring the Impact of Early Algebra
Collaborative Research: The Impact of Early Algebra on Students' Algebra-Readiness
The Impact of a Teacher-Led Early Algebra Intervention on Children's Algebra-Readiness for Middle School
Identifying Effective Instructional Practices that Foster the Development of Algebraic Thinking in Elementary School
Project LEAP: Extending a Grades 3-5 Early Algebra Learning Progression into Grades K-2
Building a Grades K-2 Early Algebra Learning Progression Prototype for Diverse Populations
Cultivating Knowledge of Mathematical Equivalence