Year 7 students’ approaches to understanding and solving NAPLAN numeracy problems

Carter, Merilyn Gladys (2011) Year 7 students’ approaches to understanding and solving NAPLAN numeracy problems. Masters by Research thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


This study investigated how the interpretation of mathematical problems by Year 7 students impacted on their ability to demonstrate what they can do in NAPLAN numeracy testing. In the study, mathematics is viewed as a culturally and socially determined system of signs and signifiers that establish the meaning, origins and importance of mathematics. The study hypothesises that students are unable to succeed in NAPLAN numeracy tests because they cannot interpret the questions, even though they may be able to perform the necessary calculations. To investigate this, the study applied contemporary theories of literacy to the context of mathematical problem solving. A case study design with multiple methods was used. The study used a correlation design to explore the connections between NAPLAN literacy and numeracy outcomes of 198 Year 7 students in a Queensland school. Additionally, qualitative methods provided a rich description of the effect of the various forms of NAPLAN numeracy questions on the success of ten Year 7 students in the same school. The study argues that there is a quantitative link between reading and numeracy. It illustrates that interpretation (literacy) errors are the most common error type in the selected NAPLAN questions, made by students of all abilities. In contrast, conceptual (mathematical) errors are less frequent amongst more capable students. This has important implications in preparing students for NAPLAN numeracy tests. The study concluded by recommending that increased focus on the literacies of mathematics would be effective in improving NAPLAN results.

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ID Code: 46648
Item Type: QUT Thesis (Masters by Research)
Supervisor: Shield, Malcolm, Chalmers, Christina, Heirdsfield, Ann, & Iyer, Radha
Keywords: NAPLAN, numeracy, mathematics, national testing, mathematical literacy, reading, problem solving, mathematical language, interpretation of mathematics problems
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 26 Oct 2011 02:07
Last Modified: 27 Jun 2017 14:41

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