The effect of intervention on accuracy of students' responses and reaction times to geometry problems

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Abstract

This study investigates the effect on student performance in drawing their attention to relevant task variables, focusing on accuracy of responses and reaction times. We chose this methodology in order to better understand how such interventions affect the reasoning process. The study employs a geometry task in which the irrelevant salient variable (area) interferes with the reasoning process related to perimeter comparison. We compared eighth graders' performances in a pretest and a posttest, with or without intervention. The posttest results showed that raising students' awareness of the relevant task variable activates effortful and time-consuming control mechanisms which help them overcome the interference of the irrelevant variable. The paper discusses the educational importance of helping students to attend selectively to relevant information in order to overcome interference, thus promoting logical reasoning.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)185-201
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Science and Mathematics Education
Volume8
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2010

Keywords

  • Attention to relevant variable
  • Control mechanisms
  • Intuitive interference
  • Intuitive rules theory
  • Reaction time

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