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ERIC Number: EJ1123379
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016
Pages: 13
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: EISSN-1744-1803
The Intricacies of Assessing Numeracy: Investigating Alternatives to Word Problems
Hoogland, Kees; Pepin, Birgit
Adults Learning Mathematics, v11 n2 p14-26 2016
Word problems are often used to assess numeracy, despite the growing number of reports on difficulties students encounter with this genre of mathematical problems. These reports contend that a large number of difficulties are influenced by the way the problems are presented, that is, with verbal representations of the problem situations. These difficulties are said to be associated with a form of suspension of sensemaking. In this study, conducted in the Netherlands, we investigated the effect on adult participants' performances of changing the representation of the problem situation, from verbal to image-rich. A controlled randomised trial was the main part of this investigation. Furthermore, we compared the results of adult participants with the results of a similar trial which was held with students from primary and secondary education. The study showed that adult participants' performances improved slightly with the change in representation, particularly on tasks in the content domain of measurement & geometry. These results were comparable with the results found of students from primary and secondary education, indicating that the effect is not related to age. The results could be of interest, however, for all practitioners involved in the work of numeracy task design.
Adults Learning Mathematics. 26 Tennyson Road, Kilburn, London NW6 7SA UK. e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Education; Secondary Education; Adult Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Netherlands
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A