Learning to think spatially : what do students 'see' in numeracy test items?

Diezmann, Carmel M. & Lowrie, Tom (2012) Learning to think spatially : what do students 'see' in numeracy test items? International Journal of Science and Mathematics Education, 10(6), pp. 1469-1490.

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Learning to think spatially in mathematics involves developing proficiency with graphics. This paper reports on 2 investigations of spatial thinking and graphics. The first investigation explored the importance of graphics as 1 of 3 communication systems (i.e. text, symbols, graphics) used to provide information in numeracy test items. The results showed that graphics were embedded in at least 50 % of test items across 3 year levels. The second investigation examined 11 – 12-year-olds’ performance on 2 mathematical tasks which required substantial interpretation of graphics and spatial thinking. The outcomes revealed that many students lacked proficiency in the basic spatial skills of visual memory and spatial perception and the more advanced skills of spatial orientation and spatial visualisation. This paper concludes with a reaffirmation of the importance of spatial thinking in mathematics and proposes ways to capitalize on graphics in learning to think spatially.

Impact and interest:

3 citations in Scopus
2 citations in Web of Science®
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ID Code: 54614
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Information graphics, Mathematics items, Numeracy tests, Pedagogy, Spatial perception, Spatial thinking
DOI: 10.1007/s10763-012-9350-3
ISSN: 1573-1774
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > CURRICULUM AND PEDAGOGY (130200) > Mathematics and Numeracy Curriculum and Pedagogy (130208)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Office of Education Research
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2012 National Science Council, Taiwan
Deposited On: 07 Nov 2012 00:30
Last Modified: 27 Nov 2013 05:38

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