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Understanding how struggling students approach math is vital to designing effective math lessons. Many low achieving students rely on a weak knowledge of procedures and attempt calculations without adequate consideration of the problem. We investigated how enabling or preventing premature calculations affected learning math. Students were presented with explanations of math problems that either contained numbers, thus allowing for calculations, or contained variables, thus preventing the possibility of calculations. In Experiment 1, we asked students to learn from a conceptual explanation and found that preventing calculations was beneficial, especially for students with less prior experience in math. In Experiment 2, when the lesson was procedures-focused, we found that preventing calculations did not have the same beneficial effect. Students with less prior experience performed poorly compared to those with more experience. Given students' prior math experience and their usual approach to problem-solving, we can facilitate learning by blocking maladaptive approaches.
- Go to article: External Memory and Verbalization in Students with Moderate Mental Retardation: Theory and Training
Persons with moderate mental retardation were trained to use external memory strategies in order to overcome their working memory limitations. We expected that metacognitive training would allow these individuals to use external memories and that this would be associated with higher recall. It was further hypothesized that the training would be more effective when combined with a short verbalization instruction. Verbalization of one’s own thinking and actions should support and reinforce strategic thinking and structure representation. Verbalization should also permit the participants to acquire or access meta-knowledge, one of the basic components postulated for transfer of strategies. Furthermore, performance in analogical tasks should be improved by transferring the use of external memory strategies. The results show that only some of the participants of the experimental group with and without verbalization used the external memory strategy after training. Those who did use the external memory strategy at posttest performed well with regard to recall performance. We concluded that an external memory strategy is required if the task memory load is high and that the memory performance depends on the use of an external memory aid. The problem of transfer to analogical reasoning tasks remained, most likely because how external memories could be used in such tasks was not made explicit, and did the tasks did not allow much use of external memories.
- Go to article: Dynamic Assessment of Learning Potential: Inter-Rater Reliability of Deficient Cognitive Functions, Types of Mediation, and Non-Intellective Factors
Dynamic Assessment of Learning Potential: Inter-Rater Reliability of Deficient Cognitive Functions, Types of Mediation, and Non-Intellective Factors
The objective of this study was to investigate the reliability of three major domains of individual dynamic assessment (DA): (a) deficient cognitive functions (DCF), (b) types of mediation given during DA, and (c) non-intellective factors. A sample of 35 young adolescents was administered eight tests from the Learning Potential Assessment Device (LPAD) (Feuerstein, Rand, & Hoffman, 1979). The sample was composed of children diagnosed with learning disabilities and educable mental handicaps, and normally achieving children. The DA procedure for each case was videotaped for 8 to 15 hours and later rated for the three main domains. Results in general showed moderate reliability scores for DCF and mediational strategies and lower reliability scores for the non-intellective factors (NIF). Separate analyses were carried out for ratings which include a 0 category (examiners could not observe a behavior) and ratings without a 0 category. The results showed a general tendency for higher agreement among raters when the 0 category was removed. In type of mediation, ratings were similar with or without the 0 rating only in the training phase, when agreement was higher in approximately 10% of categories when 0 ratings were included than when not. These results were explained by referring to the interaction of type of task and phase of testing (situation) interaction.
- Go to article: The Cliques Participation Index (CPI) as an Indicator of Creativity in Online Collaborative Groups
After introducing the networked flow as a collective creativity process, this article analyzes whether certain social network analysis (SNA) indices could be possible predictors of the social structures’ collective creativity. An empirical study was conducted in which online collaborative groups of adults on a postgraduate course interacted by a web platform to achieve a shared objective. The groups’ final products were evaluated on their originality and transferability, and these were then compared to the groups’ collective activity parameters. Final results show that the Cliques Participation Index (CPI), purposely created for this study, is a potential predictor in the groups’ collective creativity.
- Go to article: Assessment of Learning Potential: Construction and First Evaluation of the Psychometric Characteristics of an Analogical Reasoning Test
Assessment of Learning Potential: Construction and First Evaluation of the Psychometric Characteristics of an Analogical Reasoning Test
This master’s thesis (Berger, 2003) concerns a new learning potential test of analogical reasoning, the Hessels Analogical Reasoning Test (HART; Hessels, 2003) aimed at the assessment of pupils from 5 to 15 years of age in a group situation. A frequently emphasized problem of learning potential tests is the time needed for their administration. We intend to be able to assess a whole group of approximately 20 pupils in the context of their classroom, in a relatively short time of about 45 to 60 minutes.
The analogies are presented in two different formats: 2 rows x 3 lines with six response alternatives or 3x3 with eight response alternatives. The number of elements varies from one to three, as does the number of transformations. We created nine series of increasing complexity for a total of 70 items. The items were constructed by pairs, meaning that two items had the same number of elements, and the same number and kind of transformations applied. The complexity, that is, theoretical difficulty, was defined by the number of transformations and elements present in the analogy. For example, an item with one element and one transformation is easier than an item with three elements and two transformations. The procedure was divided into two phases. In the first phase, a collective introduction was offered using four example items aimed at familiarizing the pupils with the tasks and the different formats of the matrices. Immediately after, a pre-test combined with training (after each item an explanation was given about the transformations applied) was administered using the first set. The second phase was a static post-test administered a few days after the pre-test/training using the parallel forms of the pre-test/training items. For each degree, a series of items was defined, according to level of difficulty, varying between 12 (1st grade) and 20 items (6th grade) for each phase of the test.
We administered the HART to 117 pupils of a primary public school (mean age 8;11). In addition, these pupils took the Standard Progressive Matrices of Raven (SPM) and an arithmetical test in a static and collective administration. Teachers of each class completed a rating scale for each of his pupils about three noncognitive variables (participation in the lessons, application in schoolwork, and behavior in class) and two cognitive variables (school success in French and mathematics).
The results showed that the training caused great inter- and intraindividual variation, explained by the learning process taking place during this phase. Due to this variation, internal consistency was low for this phase. Thus, for subsequent analysis, we only considered the reliable results of the post-test. Of main interest were the correlations between the HART and the other variables measured. The noncognitive factors given by the teacher’s judgments showed lower correlations with the HART than with the SPM. For instance, the HART showed a correlation of .08 (ns) with pupil’s behavior, whereas the SPM showed a correlation of .21 (p<.05). This result means that the score offered by the HART is more independent of behavior in class. Moreover, the arithmetic test is more correlated with the learning test than with the SPM. Finally, a stepwise regression analysis demonstrated that the SPM predicted 14.2% (F1,116=19.151; p<.01) of the variance of success in mathematics; the HART predicted an extra 4% (F1,115=5.557; p<.05). For French, the stepwise regression analysis shows that the HART has a slightly superior predictive validity.
These first results show that the instrument can be used in a group situation and has promising properties. The research will be extended to different populations, with variations in the procedures and methods.
The focus of this article is on the effects of mediated learning experience (MLE) interactions on children’s cognitive modifiability. In this article, I discuss the MLE theory, and selected research findings demonstrating the impact of MLE strategies in facilita ting cognitive modifiability. Research findings derive from mother–child interactions, peer-mediation and cognitive education programs. Mediation for transcendence (expanding) was found consistently as the most powerful strategy predicting cognitive modifiability and distal factors in samples of children with learning difficulties directly predict cognitive modifiability. Findings of peer-mediation studies indicate that children in experimental groups participating in the Peer Mediation with Young Children program showed better mediational teaching style and higher cognitive modifiability than children in control groups. Application of dynamic assessment as a central evaluation method reveals that the contribution of the cognitive education program was not simply supporting the development of a particular skill practiced during the program; it also involved teaching children how to benefit from mediation in a different setting and consequently improve their cognitive performance across other domains.