Hill Blunk Charalambous Lewis Phelps Sleep Ball - C&I 2008

Mathematical Knowledge for Teaching and the Mathematical Quality of Instruction: An Exploratory Study
Cognition and Instruction, Volume 26, Number 4 (October 2008), 430 - 511

Heather Hill, Merrie Blunk, Charalambos Charalambous, Jennifer Lewis, Geoffrey Phelps, Laurie Sleep, Deborah Loewenberg Ball

This study illuminates claims that teachers' mathematical knowledge plays an important role in their teaching of this subject matter. In particular, we focus on teachers' mathematical knowledge for teaching (MKT), which includes both the mathematical knowledge that is common to individuals working in diverse professions and the mathematical knowledge that is specialized to teaching. We use a series of five case studies and associated quantitative data to detail how MKT is associated with the mathematical quality of instruction. Although there is a significant, strong, and positive association between levels of MKT and the mathematical quality of instruction, we also find that there are a number of important factors that mediate this relationship, either supporting or hindering teachers' use of knowledge in practice.

diSessa - C&I 2008

A “Theory Bite” on the Meaning of Scientific Inquiry: A Companion to Kuhn and Pease
Cognition and Instruction, Volume 26, Issue 4 October 2008 , pages 427 - 429

Andrea diSessa

No abstract given, but here's a description of a "theory bite" that suggests why you should read this:

With respect to dialectical approaches and also to theory, I have taken the privilege of exemplifying a small innovation focused on both of these in this issue. I call the genre a “theory bite,” and it was suggested to me by Bruce Sherin. The idea is to comment briefly on the theoretical perspective of a work in such a way as to (a) succinctly identify and clarify a theoretical position in an article, and (b) situate it with respect to alternatives. “Essences and possibilities” might be a helpful slogan. This is largely an analytical enterprise, and it can usually be carried out without the author staking a position. I hope for simple, clear, and short expositions that can illuminate background assumptions for senior researchers, and attune junior researchers to perspectives that they may miss because researchers in particular lines seldom go back to first principles, and, similarly, they seldom review very different framings. This dialectical genre is tricky to nurture. Editors in charge may be the best people to think about possible contributions, but rarely will they be the best people to make the contribution. It is easier to identify people who are allies of positions and lines, and those who will dispute them. Where neutral but illuminating analytical perspectives can come from is more problematic. So, initiative on the part of readers and contributors is urgently requested. You may use my note on the Kuhn and Pease article in this issue as a model, but I hope this modest example also spurs different and better innovations. Obviously, feedback on genres we do or could try out is strongly invited.

Kuhn Pease - C&I 2008

What Needs to Develop in the Development of Inquiry Skills?
Cognition and Instruction, Volume 26, Issue 4 October 2008 , pages 512 - 559

Deanna Kuhn; Maria Pease

To identify the challenges that students must meet to engage in effective self-directed inquiry, a class was followed for three years, from the fourth through the sixth grades, as they engaged in a sequence of progressively more demanding inquiry activities. Students made substantial progress in understanding the objectives of inquiry, identifying questions, attending to evidence, identifying patterns, making controlled comparisons, interpreting increasingly complex data, supporting claims, and drawing justified conclusions. Retaining awareness of inquiry objectives and integrating influences of multiple variables in predicting outcomes were two areas that remained challenging. A comparison group of seventh graders who had not been involved in the program displayed strikingly different approaches to an inquiry task, indicating that the skills identified here are not ones that develop in the absence of appropriate kinds of educational experiences.


Lajoie - Ed Psych Review 2008

Metacognition, Self Regulation, and Self-regulated Learning: A Rose by any other Name?
Ed Psych Review online first

Susanne P. Lajoie

This commentary reviews the distinctions researchers make in defining metacognition, self-regulation, and self-regulated learning along with the methods used to explore these constructs. Bandura’s notion of reciprocal determinism (1977) is revisited in the context of situated learning, whereby interactions between the person, behavior, and environment take on new meaning when examining learning and affect in specific contexts where knowledge is constructed through interacting with all that the environment affords, be that material or human. The interaction between the mind and environment continues to be an interesting question with regard to these three constructs, and this interaction can be explored by using computers as cognitive tools. Technology-rich environments are described that provide opportunities for assessing and validating metacognition, self-regulation, and self-regulated learning with future directions for assessing co-regulation of teams of learners.

(note the similarly titled paper here.)


Rappaport Ashkenazi - IJSE 2008

Connecting Levels of Representation: Emergent versus submergent perspective
International Journal of Science Education, Volume 30, Issue 12 October 2008 , pages 1585 - 1603

Lana T. Rappoport; Guy Ashkenazi

Chemical phenomena can be described using three representation modes: macro, submicro, and symbolic. The way students use and connect these modes when solving conceptual problems was studied, using a think-aloud interview protocol. The protocol was validated through interviews with six faculty members, and then applied to four graduate and six undergraduate chemistry students. We used a 'levels of complexity' framework to analyse responses: the macro and symbolic modes were considered system-level representations, and the submicro mode a component-level representation. We found that faculty members thought of system-level properties as emerging from mechanistic interactions between particles on the component level—an emergent perspective. In many cases, the students either failed to connect the system and component levels, or thought of system-level properties as guiding the behaviour of particles on the component level—a 'submergent' perspective. Some students used their familiarity with a symbolic equation describing the behaviour of a substance as the starting point of a thought process that leads them to impose mechanistically unwarrantable behaviour upon its particles. We concluded that a submergent perspective inhibits students from confronting their misconceptions regarding particle behaviour, and explains why students are often able to correctly solve algorithmic problems while failing to solve conceptual ones. It is suggested that the directionality of connecting particle behaviour to system-level properties should be emphasized in teaching.

Buty Mortimer - IJSE 2008

Dialogic/Authoritative Discourse and Modelling in a High School Teaching Sequence on Optics
International Journal of Science Education, Volume 30, Issue 12 October 2008 , pages 1635 - 1660

Christian Buty; Eduardo F. Mortimer

In this paper we aim to establish a link between two theoretical frames: modelling and its use in the design and analysis of scientific teaching sequences, and the communicative approaches as they alternate in classroom activities. In this case study, we follow the interactions between the teacher and a pair of students during an entire teaching sequence in Optics (grade 11). We focus on the way the teacher managed the dialogicity and the modelling processes in the classroom discourse. A qualitative analysis shows some difficulties in such an achievement, and their consequences on students' meaning making.


Fuchs Fuchs Stuebing Fletcher Hamlett Lambert - J Educational Psychology 2008

Problem solving and computational skill: Are they shared or distinct aspects of mathematical cognition?
Journal of Educational Psychology. 2008 Feb Vol 100(1) 30-47

Fuchs, Lynn S.; Fuchs, Douglas; Stuebing, Karla; Fletcher, Jack M.; Hamlett, Carol L.; Lambert, Warren

The purpose of this study was to explore patterns of difficulty in 2 domains of mathematical cognition: computation and problem solving. Third graders (n = 924; 47.3% male) were representatively sampled from 89 classrooms; assessed on computation and problem solving; classified as having difficulty with computation, problem solving, both domains, or neither domain; and measured on 9 cognitive dimensions. Difficulty occurred across domains with the same prevalence as difficulty with a single domain; specific difficulty was distributed similarly across domains. Multivariate profile analysis on cognitive dimensions and chi-square tests on demographics showed that specific computational difficulty was associated with strength in language and weaknesses in attentive behavior and processing speed; problem-solving difficulty was associated with deficient language as well as race and poverty. Implications for understanding mathematics competence and for the identification and treatment of mathematics difficulties are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2008 APA, all rights reserved)

DeLeeuw Mayer - J Educational Psychology 2008

A comparison of three measures of cognitive load: Evidence for separable measures of intrinsic, extraneous, and germane load

Journal of Educational Psychology. 2008 Feb Vol 100(1) 223-234

DeLeeuw, Krista E.; Mayer, Richard E.

Understanding how to measure cognitive load is a fundamental challenge for cognitive load theory. In 2 experiments, 155 college students (ages = 17 to 22; 49 men and 106 women) with low domain knowledge learned from a multimedia lesson on electric motors. At 8 points during learning, their cognitive load was measured via self-report scales (mental effort ratings) and response time to a secondary visual monitoring task, and they completed a difficulty rating scale at the end of the lesson. Correlations among the three measures were generally low. Analyses of variance indicated that the response time measure was most sensitive to manipulations of extraneous processing (created by adding redundant text), effort ratings were most sensitive to manipulations of intrinsic processing (created by sentence complexity), and difficulty ratings were most sensitive to indications of germane processing (reflected by transfer test performance). Results are consistent with a triarchic theory of cognitive load in which different aspects of cognitive load may be tapped by different measures of cognitive load. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2008 APA, all rights reserved)

Mason Gava Boldrin - J Educational Psychology 2008

On warm conceptual change: The interplay of text, epistemological beliefs, and topic interest.
Journal of Educational Psychology. 2008 May Vol 100(2) 291-309

Mason, Lucia; Gava, Monica; Boldrin, Angela

The aim of this study was to go further than considering only cognitive factors to extend the understanding of the complex, dynamic underlying knowledge revision processes. Fifth graders were assigned to 2 reading conditions. Participants in 1 condition read a refutational text about light, whereas participants in the other read a traditional text. Within each reading condition, students had more or less advanced beliefs about scientific knowledge (complex and evolving vs. simple and certain), as well as high or low topic interest. Overall findings from pretest to immediate and delayed posttests showed that knowledge revision was affected by several interactions among the variables examined. Students who attained the highest scores at both the immediate and delayed posttests were those who had read the refutational text and had high topic interest, as well as more advanced beliefs about scientific knowledge. In particular, the refutational text was more powerful in prompting a restructuring of alternative conceptions about 2 of the 3 light phenomena examined. In addition, students preferred the innovative text to the traditional textbook text.

Another blog: Educational Research Journals

For those who enjoy these links, I suggest you also check out the following blog:

Educational Research Journals

There, you can find links to the tables of contents of major journals in educational research. No, it's not physics alone, but yes, you should be paying attention. Some of the journals are really top quality, and some of the articles are things that we in PER should be paying more attention to.

-- Michael Wittmann

Klaczynski - J Cognition and Development 2006

Learning, Belief Biases, and Metacognition
Journal of Cognition and Development, Volume 7, Issue 3 August 2006 , pages 295 - 300

Paul A. Klaczynski

Evidence from dual-process and cognitive behavioral theorists points to the conclusion that the products of associative learning are sometimes available in working memory. Adolescents, adults, and children (to a lesser extent) can engage in metacognitive intercession, reflecting on the products of associative processing and deciding whether to assimilate these products to existing knowledge or create new levels of understanding. To highlight my arguments, I discuss research on belief-biased reasoning and an intervention that reduced reasoning biases.

Namy Newcombe (review Goldin-Meadow) - J Cognition and Development

More than Just Hand Waving: Review of Hearing Gestures: How Our Hands Help Us Think
Journal of Cognition and Development, Volume 9, Issue 2 April 2008 , pages 247 - 252

Laura L. Namy; Nora S. Newcombe

Susan Goldin-Meadow's Hearing Gestures: How Our Hands Help Us to Think synthesizes findings from various domains to demonstrate that gestures convey meaning and comprise a critical and fundamental form of communication. She also argues convincingly for the cognitive utility of gesture for the gesturer. Goldin-Meadow presents an airtight case that gesture is more than just hand waving and serves as an essential tool for studying the mind.

Jeong Levine Huttenlocher - J Cognition and Development

The Development of Proportional Reasoning: Effect of Continuous Versus Discrete Quantities
Journal of Cognition and Development, Volume 8, Issue 2 April 2007 , pages 237 - 256

Authors: Yoonkyung Jeong; Susan C. Levine; Janellen Huttenlocher

This study examines the development of children's ability to reason about proportions that involve either discrete entities or continuous amounts. Six-, 8- and 10-year olds were presented with a proportional reasoning task in the context of a game involving probability. Although all age groups failed when proportions involved discrete quantities, even the youngest age group showed some success when proportions involved continuous quantities. These findings indicate that quantity type strongly affects children's ability to make judgments of proportion. Children's greater success in judging proportions involving continuous quantities appears to be related to their use of different strategies in the presence of countable versus noncountable entities. In two discrete conditions, children—particularly 8- and 10-year-olds—adopted an erroneous counting strategy, considering the number of target elements but not the relation between target and nontarget elements, either in terms of number or amount. In contrast, in the continuous condition, when it was not possible to count, children may have relied on an early developing ability to code the relative amounts of target and nontarget regions.

McDonald Butler Songer - Science Education 2008

Enacting classroom inquiry: Theorizing teachers' conceptions of science teaching
Science Education, Volume 92, Number 6 (November 2008), p. 973 - 993

Scott McDonald, Nancy Butler Songer

Translating written curricular materials into rich, complex, learning environments is an undertheorized area in science education. This study examines two critical cases of teachers enacting a technology-rich curriculum focused on the development of complex reasoning around biodiversity for fifth graders. Two elements emerged that significantly impact teacher enactment - their conceptions of authenticity (authentic learning/authentic science) and their view of science (descriptive/inferential). The results suggest that disentangling the common conflation of these two elements supports a broader definition of inquiry science teaching that is more sensitive to context and individual teacher enactment.


Smith Wittmann - PRST-PER 2008

Applying a resources framework to analysis of the Force and Motion Conceptual Evaluation
Phys. Rev. ST Phys. Educ. Res. 4, 020101 (2008) [12 pages]

Trevor I. Smith and Michael C. Wittmann

We suggest one redefinition of common clusters of questions used to analyze student responses on the Force and Motion Conceptual Evaluation. Our goal is to propose a methodology that moves beyond an analysis of student learning defined by correct responses, either on the overall test or on clusters of questions defined solely by content. We use the resources framework theory of learning to define clusters within this experimental test that was designed without the resources framework in mind. We take special note of the contextual and representational dependence of questions with seemingly similar physics content. We analyze clusters in ways that allow the most common incorrect answers to give as much, or more, information as the correctness of responses in that cluster. We show that false positives can be found, especially on questions dealing with Newton’s third law. We apply our clustering to a small set of data to illustrate the value of comparing students’ incorrect responses which are otherwise identical on a correct or incorrect analysis. Our work provides a connection between theory and experiment in the area of survey design and the resources framework.

Ogilvie - arxiv.org 2008

Impact of Context-Rich, Multifaceted Problems on Students' Attitudes Towards Problem-Solving

C.A. Ogilvie

Most students struggle when faced with complex and ill-structured tasks because the strategies taught in schools and universities simply require finding and applying the correct formulae or strategy to answer well-structured, algorithmic problems. For students to develop their ability to solve ill-structured problems, they must first believe that standardized procedural approaches will not always be sufficient for solving ill-structured engineering and scientific challenges. In this paper we document the range of beliefs university students have about problem-solving. Students enrolled in a physics course submitted a written reflection both at the start and the end of the course on how they solve problems. We coded approximately 500 of these reflections for the presence of different problem-solving approaches. At the start of the semester over 50% of the students mention in written reflections that they use Rolodex equation matching, i.e. they solve problems by searching for equations that have the same variables as the knowns and unknowns. We then describe the extent to which students' beliefs about physics problem-solving change due to their experience throughout a semester with context-rich, multifaceted problems. The frequency of strategies such as the Rolodex method reduces only slightly by the end of the semester. However, there is an increase in students describing more expansive strategies within their reflections. In particular there is a large increase in describing the use of diagrams, and thinking about concepts first. Hence the use of context-rich, multi-faceted problems positively impacts students' attitude towards problem-solving.


Cook Wiebe Carter - Science Education 2008

The influence of prior knowledge on viewing and interpreting graphics with macroscopic and molecular representations
Sci Ed 92:848–867, 2008

Michelle Cook, Eric N. Wiebe, Glenda Carter

Previous research has indicated that the use of multiple representations with macroscopic and molecular features can improve conceptual understanding; however, the influence of prior knowledge of the domain cannot be overlooked. Using eyetracking technology and sequential analysis, this study investigated how high school students n 54 with different levels of prior knowledge transitioned among the macroscopic and molecular representations of the selected cell transport graphics. The results indicated that high prior knowledge students transitioned more frequently between the molecular representations, whereas low prior knowledge students transitioned more frequently between the macroscopic representations. These findings suggest that students with high prior knowledge distributed their visual attention on conceptually relevant features, whereas low prior knowledge students focused on surface features. In addition, low prior knowledge students transitioned more frequently between macroscopic and molecular representations, suggesting that these students were experiencing more difficulty as they were coordinating the representations. Because these students were using surface features to create linkages between the representations, they were unable to understand the underlying themes. More research on the differences in the distribution of visual attention among learners can provide further insight as to the difficulties low prior knowledge students face when interpreting multiple representations.


Chiu - JLS 2008

Flowing Toward Correct Contributions During Group Problem Solving: A Statistical Discourse Analysis
Journal of the Learning Sciences, Volume 17, Issue 3 July 2008 , pages 415 - 463

Ming Ming Chiu

Groups that created more correct ideas (correct contributions or CCs) might be more likely to solve a problem, and students' recent actions (micro-time context) might aid CC creation. 80 high school students worked in groups of 4 on an algebra problem. Groups with higher mathematics grades or more CCs were more likely to solve the problem. Dynamic multilevel analysis statistically identified watersheds (breakpoints) that divided each group's conversation into distinct time periods with many CCs versus few CCs, and modeled the groups' 2,951 conversation turns. Wrong contributions, correct evaluations of one another's ideas, justifications, and polite disagreements increased the likelihood of a CC. In contrast, questions, rude disagreements, and agreements reduced it. Justifications had the largest effects, whereas the effects of correct evaluations lasted 3 speaker turns. Some effects differed across groups or time periods. In groups that solved the problem, justifications were more likely to yield CCs, and questions were more likely to elicit explanations. Meanwhile, the effects of agreements and correct evaluations on CCs differed across time periods. Applied to practice, teachers can encourage students to evaluate others' ideas carefully and politely, express and justify their own ideas, and explain their answers to group members' questions.

Jurow Hall Ma - JLS 2008

Expanding the Disciplinary Expertise of a Middle School Mathematics Classroom: Re-Contextualizing Student Models in Conversations With Visiting Specialists
Journal of the Learning Sciences, Volume 17, Issue 3 July 2008 , pages 338 - 380

A. Susan Jurow; Rogers Hall; Jasmine Y. Ma

This article examines how conversations during design reviews in which 8th-grade mathematics students shared population models with visiting specialists expanded the disciplinary expertise of the classroom. Re-contextualizing is a conversational exchange that visiting specialists initiated to invite groups to consider their models in novel contexts. Analysis of 14 design reviews in 2 classrooms showed that re-contextualizing resulted in both the elaboration of ideas students already understood and new contributions to students' understandings of mathematical aspects of population modeling. This article presents case studies of 2 groups that differed in terms of their interest in the curricular task and the level of conceptual integrity of their population models. Despite these differences, the re-contextualizing exchanges that emerged in their design reviews led to new insights for both groups and provided them with opportunities to try on ways of thinking and acting like population biologists.

Gal Lin Ying - IJSME 2008

Listen To The Silence: The Left-Behind Phenomenon As Seen Through Classroom Videos And Teachers’ Reflections

International Journal of Science and Mathematics Education

Hagar Gal, Fou-Lai Lin and Jia-Ming Ying

This study uses classroom videotapes to examine the phenomenon of students who are left behind during whole-class teaching. Zooming in via these videos enabled us to analyze these classroom situations by means of a compact, multi-perspective set of theories – van Hiele theory, conceptualization, and visual perception. The analysis provided a picture of the classroom interaction in which the sound of silence of those students who might not share understanding during the class discourse is ignored. Based on a sample of Taiwanese junior high school geometry classes, the study demonstrated how investigating situations of silence uncovered the possibility of teachers’ unawareness of student difficulties or their unsuccessful efforts to cope with them. Teachers’ post-lesson interviews and questionnaires shed additional light on the perspective of left-behind students. Implications of this method for pre- and in-service teachers’ programs are briefly discussed, and some recommendations for change are proposed.

Sakamoto Jones Love - Memory and Cognition 2008

Putting the psychology back into psychological models: Mechanistic versus rational approaches
Memory & Cognition, Volume 36, Number 6, September 2008 , pp. 1057-1065(9)

Yasuaki Sakamoto, Matt Jones, Bradley C. Love

Two basic approaches to explaining the nature of the mind are the rational and the mechanistic approaches. Rational analyses attempt to characterize the environment and the behavioral outcomes that humans seek to optimize, whereas mechanistic models attempt to simulate human behavior using processes and representations analogous to those used by humans. We compared these approaches with regard to their accounts of how humans learn the variability of categories. The mechanistic model departs in subtle ways from rational principles. In particular, the mechanistic model incrementally updates its estimates of category means and variances through error-driven learning, based on discrepancies between new category members and the current representation of each category. The model yields a prediction, which we verify, regarding the effects of order manipulations that the rational approach does not anticipate. Although both rational and mechanistic models can successfully postdict known findings, we suggest that psychological advances are driven primarily by consideration of process and representation and that rational accounts trail these breakthroughs.

Glautier - Memory and Cognition 2008

Recency and primacy in causal judgments: Effects of probe question and context switch on latent inhibition and extinction
Memory & Cognition, Volume 36, Number 6, September 2008 , pp. 1087-1093(7)

Steven Glautier

Traditional associative models assume that associative weights are updated on a trial-by-trial basis. As a result, it is usually expected that responses based on these weights will tend to reflect the most recently presented contingencies. However, a number of studies of human causal judgments have shown primacy effects, wherein judgments obtained at the end of a series of trials are more strongly influenced by a contingency that was in force early in the sequence than by a contingency that was in force later in the sequence. The experiments described in this article replicated other work showing that requesting causal judgments during a sequence can reverse primacy and produce strong recency effects. Evidence was also obtained to suggest that primacy effects are produced by an interaction between latent inhibition and extinction processes and that requesting a judgment affects both of these processes.