**ERIC Number:**EJ757648

**Record Type:**Journal

**Publication Date:**2006-Nov

**Pages:**22

**Abstractor:**Author

**Reference Count:**N/A

**ISBN:**N/A

**ISSN:**ISSN-0013-1954

Characterizing Reading Comprehension of Mathematical Texts

Osterholm, Magnus

Educational Studies in Mathematics, v63 n3 p325-346 Nov 2006

This study compares reading comprehension of three different texts: two mathematical texts and one historical text. The two mathematical texts both present basic concepts of group theory, but one does it using mathematical symbols and the other only uses natural language. A total of 95 upper secondary and university students read one of the mathematical texts and the historical text. Before reading the texts, a test of prior knowledge for both mathematics and history was given and after reading each text, a test of reading comprehension was given. The results reveal a similarity in reading comprehension between the mathematical text without symbols and the historical text, and also a difference in reading comprehension between the two mathematical texts. This result suggests that mathematics in itself is not the most dominant aspect affecting the reading comprehension process, but the use of symbols in the text is a more relevant factor. Although the university students had studied more mathematics courses than the upper secondary students, there was only a small and insignificant difference between these groups regarding reading comprehension of the mathematical text with symbols. This finding suggests that there is a need for more explicit teaching of reading comprehension for texts including symbols.

Descriptors: Symbols (Mathematics), Prior Learning, Mathematics, Natural Language Processing, Reading Comprehension, History Instruction, Mathematics Education, Mathematical Concepts, High School Students, College Students, Comparative Analysis, Textbooks

Springer. 233 Spring Street, New York, NY 10013. Tel: 800-777-4643; Tel: 212-460-1500; Fax: 212-348-4505; e-mail: service-ny@springer.com; Web site: http://www.springerlink.com

**Publication Type:**Journal Articles; Reports - Research

**Education Level:**High Schools; Higher Education

**Audience:**N/A

**Language:**English

**Sponsor:**N/A

**Authoring Institution:**N/A

**Identifiers - Location:**United Kingdom (Reading)