Effects of Schematic Chunking on Enhancing Geometry Performance in Students With Math Difficulties and Students at Risk of Math Failure

Dake Zhang, Amanda Indyk, Steven Greenstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Schematic chunks denote patterns, schemes, or sophisticated rules and knowledge stored in the long-term memory in the form of chunks. We investigated whether schematic chunking is effective in improving the performance of students with math difficulties (MD) and students at risk of math failure, and how the complexity level of geometry problems and students’ content knowledge moderate the effects of a visual chunking accommodation. A 3 (problem difficulty level) × 2 (plain version/chunking version) ×2 (cheat sheet provided/not provided) mixed design was used. Thirty-three students, including 18 with MD and 15 at risk, were randomly assigned to two groups: A “cheat sheet” of related theorems was provided to one group but not the other. Students in both groups received two versions of a geometry test: (a) a test with a plain figure representation, and (b) a parallel test with coloring and marks that highlighted the elements of a schematic chunk. Results found a main effect of chunking for all participants, and the chunking effect was greater for difficult one-step and multi-step problems than for simple one-step problems. Providing a cheat sheet increased the chunking effects for solving only the difficult one-step problems pertaining to low-frequency theorems for students with MD.

Original languageEnglish
JournalLearning Disability Quarterly
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 1 Jan 2020

Keywords

  • accommodation
  • assessment
  • geometry
  • mathematics
  • thinking/cognition

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