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ERIC Number: EJ798119
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008
Pages: 22
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0732-3123
Exploring College Students' Mental Representations of Inferential Statistics
Lavigne, Nancy C.; Salkind, Sara J.; Yan, Jie
Journal of Mathematical Behavior, v27 n1 p11-32 2008
We report a case study that explored how three college students mentally represented the knowledge they held of inferential statistics, how this knowledge was connected, and how it was applied in two problem solving situations. A concept map task and two problem categorization tasks were used along with interviews to gather the data. We found that the students' representations were based on incomplete statistical understanding. Although they grasped various concepts and inferential tests, the students rarely linked key concepts together or to tests nor did they accurately apply that knowledge to categorize word problems. We suggest that one reason the students had difficulty applying their knowledge is that it was not sufficiently integrated. In addition, we found that varying the instruction for the categorization task elicited different mental representations. One instruction was particularly effective in revealing students' partial understandings. This finding suggests that modifying the task format as we have done could be a useful diagnostic tool. (Contains 6 tables and 3 figures.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A