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In this action research study of my 5th grade mathematics class, I investigated how students’ understanding of math vocabulary impacts their understanding of the curriculum. I discovered math vocabulary plays an important role in a student’s ability to understand daily lessons, complete homework, discuss ideas in groups, take tests and be successful on achievement tests. A student’s ability to understand the words around him (or her) in math class seem very related to his or her ability to solve word problems. Word problems are what our national assessments are all about. I also discovered that direct instruction and support of math vocabulary increased test scores and confidence in students as test takers. As a result of this research, I plan to continue to find ways to emphasize the vocabulary used in our current math curriculum. This process will start at the beginning of the year. I will continue to look for strategies that promote math vocabulary retention in my students. And finally, I will share my findings with my colleagues, so my research can be used as part of our School Improvement Goals.