Cognitive Factors and Representation Strategies In Sketching Math Diagrams

Abstract

Previous research has shown sketching to be useful to students solving math problems. The present study examines which aspects of middle school students’ sketching are related to, or predict, successfully answering math problems. The effects of individual differences in cognitive factors – working memory, spatial ability, and prior math knowledge – on answer accuracy are also analyzed. Stepwise regression analysis indicates that prior math knowledge and the inclusion of numerical representations of key problem relationships in sketches positively predict answer accuracy, whereas including irrelevant relationships in a sketch is associated with lower answer accuracy. Methodological implications for future research are discussed.


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