Learning to think Spacially: What do Student's 'See' in Numeracy Test Items?

Carmel Diezmann, Thomas LOWRIE

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    6 Citations (Scopus)


    Learning to think spatially in mathematics involves developing proficiency with graphics. This paper reports on 2 investigations of spatial thinking and graphics. The first investigation explored the importance of graphics as 1 of 3 communication systems (i.e. text, symbols, graphics) used to provide information in numeracy test items. The results showed that graphics were embedded in at least 50 % of test items across 3 year levels. The second investigation examined 11 – 12-year-olds’ performance on 2 mathematical tasks which required substantial interpretation of graphics and spatial thinking. The outcomes revealed that many students lacked proficiency in the basic spatial skills of visual memory and spatial perception and the more advanced skills of spatial orientation and spatial visualisation. This paper concludes with a reaffirmation of the importance of spatial thinking in mathematics and proposes ways to capitalize on graphics in learning to think spatially.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1469-1490
    Number of pages22
    JournalInternational Journal of Science and Mathematics Education
    Issue number6
    Publication statusPublished - 2012


    Dive into the research topics of 'Learning to think Spacially: What do Student's 'See' in Numeracy Test Items?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this