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ERIC Number: EJ1086376
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 17
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: EISSN-2165-8714
Understanding Mathematics: Some Key Factors
Ali, Asma Amanat; Reid, Norman
European Journal of Educational Research, v1 n3 p283-299 2012
Mathematics is well known as a subject area where there can be problems in terms of understanding as well as retaining positive attitudes. In a large study involving 813 school students (ages approximately 10-12) drawn from two different school systems in Pakistan, the effect of limited working memory capacity on performance in mathematics was explored along with a survey of areas of difficulty and student attitudes. This involved looking at student perceptions of their experiences, the nature of the difficulties they have with mathematics and possible reasons for these difficulties. The overall aim is to explore the extent of the effect of working memory and to gain insights so that practical ways forward to enhance mathematics education can be identified. It was found that limited working memory capacity has a very strong influence on performance, confirming other studies. Indeed, if the cognitive load exceeds the capacity of working memory, understanding becomes a casualty, with consequent attitude deterioration. Students need to be able to see that mathematics has a purpose in being able to be applied to real-life situations. However, attempts to develop applications may often generate further working memory overload. Curricula devised by those outside the classroom can sometimes be inappropriate while topics causing the greatest problems at these ages and include areas of geometry, statistics and the applications of mathematics.
Eurasian Society of Educational Research Association. Ataturk District 70.Str. No:15 Gaziantep, Turkey 27260. Tel: +90-342-2116792; Fax: +90-342-2116677; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: Grade 5; Intermediate Grades; Middle Schools; Elementary Education; Grade 6; Grade 7; Junior High Schools; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Pakistan
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A