Improving and assessing students’ line graph interpretations: the case of the graph-as-picture interpretation

García García, Grecia (2015) Improving and assessing students’ line graph interpretations: the case of the graph-as-picture interpretation. Doctoral thesis (PhD), University of Sussex.

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Abstract

The “graph-as-picture misconception” (GAPM) occurs when an abstract representation
(e.g., a line graph) is interpreted as a picture of an object (e.g., a mountain). Previous
research on students’ line graph interpretations has focused on secondary school level and
above, thus this research extends the investigation of the GAPM to primary school level.
Particularly, it investigates: which type of environment is more effective for improving
young students’ line graph interpretations; and how can be assessed their interpretations.

A pilot study involved an improved version of Janvier’s (1978) paper-and-pencil tasks
(to create an interactive learning environment) and it investigated how to incorporate a
card-sort task (to assess students’ interpretations). Different touch-screen technologies
were considered too.

Two experiments were conducted. In experiment one, 37 participants (third to sixth
year) were assessed in their graphical knowledge through a picture/diagram card-sort
task and a “pictorial group” was formed using participants’ interpretations. During the
intervention, students performed an active or passive mode of a Racing Car activity in
which they moved or watched a car along a track while its speed/distance graph was
plotted concurrently alongside. The results suggested that a wide variety of pictorial
interpretations exist and students seemed to benefit from the active modality.

In experiment two, 38 fifth-year students performed different assessment tests. Extending
experiment one, a “drawing the graph” mode and its passive modality were included.
In that mode, students modified a plotted line of a speed/distance graph, which was used
by the system to race a car along a track. Previous results were not confirmed: only
students under the “drawing the graph” modality (including the “pictorial group”) significantly improved their interpretations; and different assessment tests seemed better to
observe students’ various interpretations.

In conclusion, a learning environment that allows interaction with the representation
could potentially improve students’ interpretations, which might be better assessed
through a rich set of tests.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Schools and Departments: School of Engineering and Informatics > Informatics
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB1050.9 Educational psychology > LB1060 Learning
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB1101 Child study > LB1139.A-Z Special, A-Z > LB1139.G4 Geometry concept
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB1501 Primary education
Depositing User: Library Cataloguing
Date Deposited: 13 Mar 2015 12:56
Last Modified: 28 Sep 2015 13:29
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/53220

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