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ERIC Number: EJ787465
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Mar
Pages: 19
Abstractor: Author
Reference Count: 35
ISSN: ISSN-0013-1881
Graphic Abilities in Relation to Mathematical and Scientific Ability in Adolescents
Stavridou, Fotini; Kakana, Domna
Educational Research, v50 n1 p75-93 Mar 2008
Background: The study investigated a small range of cognitive abilities, related to visual-spatial intelligence, in adolescents. This specific range of cognitive abilities was termed "graphic abilities" and defined as a range of abilities to visualise and think in three dimensions, originating in the domain of visual-spatial intelligence, and related to visual perception and the ability to represent space. The educational importance of graphic abilities has received minimal attention from the educational community and, consequently, plays a limited role in educational practice. Purpose: In order to understand the particular educational importance of this range of cognitive abilities, we investigated how graphic abilities are connected with the performance and the subject preference of adolescents in several academic areas. Our hypotheses were, first, that there is a high degree of correlation between developed graphic abilities and high performance in mathematics and science, and second, that there is a high degree of correlation between developed graphic abilities and personal subject preference in these two areas. Sample: The sample consisted of 60 14-year-old students (30 girls and 30 boys) attending a public secondary school in a small town in northern Greece. The entire sample had followed the same mathematics courses, which did not involve any geometry or spatial representation tasks. Design and methods: We identified and defined a specific range of three graphic abilities, related to visual-spatial intelligence, and we investigated these abilities in the sample through several visual-spatial tasks designed for the study and measured the sample's performance in these tasks. The degree of adolescents' graphic performance (that is, the performance in these visual-spatial tasks) was correlated with their performance in mathematics and science and with their subject preference (mathematics, science and language). Results: Our findings confirmed both hypotheses. Ahigh degree of correlation was found between developed graphic abilities and high performance in mathematics, and a lower but still significant degree of correlation was found between developed graphic abilities and high performance in science. The findings support the second hypothesis as well, suggesting that children with developed graphic abilities reported that their favourite subject was mathematics and second favourite subject was science. Conclusions: The research suggested that there is a particular relation between the level of graphic abilities performance and children's performance and in preference for mathematics and science. That is, children with developed visual perception, visual thought and representational skills are actually better with numbers and physical concepts. This particular relation might be relevant to the overall cognitive development of children, especially with respect to the increasingly developing communication technologies, and it would seem to deserve more attention and extended research from the educational community. The authorial position is that education would gain from a better understanding of: the nature of graphic abilities, how we can develop this range of abilities and how the development of visual thought and graphic expression contributes to several curriculum subjects. (Contains 7 figures and 8 tables.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Greece