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PERC 2014 Abstract Detail Page

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Abstract Title: Examination of Students' Ability to Interpret Data in Light of Prior Belief
Abstract: By comparing student inferences about data tables and graphs, given in a familiar physical context, to inferences about the same data given in a more generic context, we found that students tended to base their conclusions not only on the data but also on their prior beliefs concerning relationships in the data. Depending on whether or not the data was aligned with their prior belief, this could either increase or decrease their accuracy. We also found that students have prior beliefs even in a generic context: they have a predisposition to assume monotonic relationships. This appears to contribute to generally poorer performance for data sets with non-monotonic relationships. Finally, we found no significant correlation of students' ability to correctly interpret the graphs and tables with course grades; however, there is some evidence that their ability is correlated with a simple test of statistical numeracy.
Abstract Type: Contributed Poster Presentation

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Abigail M. Bogdan
The Ohio State University
191 West Woodruff Ave
Columbus, OH 43210
and Co-Presenter(s)
Andrew F. Heckler, The Ohio State University