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What to Assess for Mathematical Writing: The Dimensionality of Written Expression for Mathematical Problem Solving and Reasoning

What to Assess for Mathematical Writing: The Dimensionality of Written Expression for Mathematical Problem Solving and Reasoning
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Author(s): Joo-Young Lee (The University of Maine, USA), Elizabeth M. Hughes (The Pennsylvania State University, USA)and Paul J. Riccomini (The Pennsylvania State University, USA)
Copyright: 2024
Pages: 25
Source title: Illuminating and Advancing the Path for Mathematical Writing Research
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Madelyn W. Colonnese (Reading and Elementary Education Department, Cato College of Education, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, USA), Tutita M. Casa (Department of Curriculum and Instruction, Neag School of Education, University of Connecticut, USA)and Fabiana Cardetti (Department of Mathematics, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, University of Connecticut, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-6684-6538-7.ch012



This chapter investigates the internal structure of informative/explanatory mathematical writing (MW) as a latent variable. The study defines it as written communication in mathematics to explain and describe one's problem solving and reasoning by using mathematical language and representation. To assess the dimensions of MW, ten scales were developed based on literature and expert reviews to quantify students' MW performance. The dataset utilized for statistical analyses consisted of MW samples from 153 4th-grade students attending a public school in a Mid-Atlantic state. Through exploratory factor analysis (EFA) conducted on the three MW prompts, two factors emerged: mathematics problem solving and reasoning and writing. Subsequently, a confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) was conducted, resulting in a cross-factor loading of reasoning onto both factors. The role of representations in MW remains uncertain. This finding contributes to an understanding of the underlying dimensions, as well as offers a validated approach for assessing MW.

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