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Data-reading abilities in sixth-graders

Evers, W.F. (2011) Data-reading abilities in sixth-graders.

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Abstract:Background. Data-reading is a critical competence for successful inquiry learning. Students often face difficulties in reading, analyzing and interpreting data due to a mismatch between their own theories and evidence provided by the data. Data-reading is assumed to be influenced by intellectual abilities as well as by the executive function of fluency. Aim. The present study focused on how sixth-graders engage in data-reading. Firstly, the influence of task design on the use of prior knowledge was investigated. Secondly, the relationship between data-reading, fluency and intellectual ability was examined. Thirdly, it was investigated whether data-reading skills can be enhanced through instruction supporting fluency. Method. A sample of 49 sixth-graders was tested for fluency, intellectual ability and data-reading abilities. Twenty-three students taken from this sample formed the experimental and the control group. The experimental group received four days of instruction enhancing creative thinking. Two weeks after the pretest, all 23 students were tested again on data-reading abilities. Results. Task design was found to affect the use of prior knowledge significantly. Data-reading performance was not significantly influenced by the use of prior knowledge. The only significant correlation was found between fluency and intelligence. Instruction on data-reading supporting fluency did not enhance data-reading skills of sixth-graders significantly. Conclusion. There is support that task design influences the way children use their prior knowledge. No evidence was found that the executive function of fluency is related to data-reading abilities providing a possible explanation why data-reading skills could not be improved by analogical instruction with the focus on enhancing creative thinking.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology
Programme:Psychology MSc (66604)
Link to this item:http://purl.utwente.nl/essays/61053
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