Understanding graphicacy: Students’ sense making on mathematics assessment items

Tom Lowrie, Carmel Diezmann, Tracy Logan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The ability to decode graphics is an increasingly important component of mathematics assessment and curricula. This study examined 50, 9- to 10-year-old students (23 male, 27 female), as they solved items from six distinct graphical languages (e.g., maps) that are commonly used to convey mathematical information. The results of the study revealed: 1) factors which contribute to success or hinder performance on tasks with various graphical representations; and 2) how the literacy and graphical demands of tasks influence the mathematical sense making of students. The outcomes of this study highlight the changing nature of assessment in school mathematics and identify the function and influence of graphics in the design of assessment tasks.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-32
Number of pages32
JournalInternational Journal for Mathematics Teaching and Learning
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes


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