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A framework for mathematics graphical tasks : The influence of the graphic element on student sense making

Lowrie, Tom, Diezmann, Carmel M., & Logan, Tracy (2012) A framework for mathematics graphical tasks : The influence of the graphic element on student sense making. Mathematics Education Research Journal, 24(2), pp. 169-187.

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Abstract

Graphical tasks have become a prominent aspect of mathematics assessment. From a conceptual stance, the purpose of this study was to better understand the composition of graphical tasks commonly used to assess students’ mathematics understandings. Through an iterative design, the investigation described the sense making of 11–12-year-olds as they decoded mathematics tasks which contained a graphic. An ongoing analysis of two phases of data collection was undertaken as we analysed the extent to which various elements of text, graphics, and symbols influenced student sense making. Specifically, the study outlined the changed behaviour (and performance) of the participants as they solved graphical tasks that had been modified with respect to these elements. We propose a theoretical framework for understanding the composition of a graphical task and identify three specific elements which are dependently and independently related to each other, namely: the graphic; the text; and the symbols. Results indicated that although changes to the graphical tasks were minimal, a change in student success and understanding was most evident when the graphic element was modified. Implications include the need for test designers to carefully consider the graphics embedded within mathematics tasks since the elements within graphical tasks greatly influence student understanding.

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ID Code: 54615
Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: Graphical tasks, Assessment, Mathematics sense making, Task modification
DOI: 10.1007/s13394-012-0036-5
ISSN: 1033-2170
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
Deposited On: 07 Nov 2012 08:25
Last Modified: 08 Nov 2012 09:28

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