Dept of Mathematics Education seminar: 14 June 2023

40 mins Presentation + 20 mins Q&A: Prof. Helena Osana

What Do You See? Affordances of the Perceptual Features of External Knowledge Representations in Mathematical Processing

(Concordia University, Canada) []


Teachers of elementary mathematics use a variety of different instructional materials in the classroom to support children’s learning. One of the primary research objectives in the Mathematics Teaching and Learning Lab (MTLL) in the Department of Education at Concordia University in Montreal, Canada, is to examine the impact of the perceptual features of external knowledge representations on children’s processing of concepts central to the elementary mathematics curriculum. My presentation will be based on recent studies in the MTLL on the affordances of instructional materials on children’s knowledge of place value, unit coordination, and fraction division in partitive and quotative contexts. Other factors that have emerged from our data that may play a role in the effects of perceptual features, such as prior knowledge and actions with manipulatives, will be discussed.

40 mins Presentation + 20 mins Q&A: Hannah Loenneker

Basic numerical cognition and arithmetic in Parkinson’s Disease

(University of Tuebingen, Germany) []


In the elderly, neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) or Parkinson’s Disease (PD) are increasingly prevalent. Patients with AD show specific deficits in numerical cognition, affecting activities of daily living such as financial matters even in early disease stages. General cognitive impairment is frequent in PD ranging from mild cognitive impairment (PD-MCI) to dementia, reflected by difficulties in everyday function. Despite its importance, there is a lack of systematic research on basic numerical cognition and arithmetic in PD.

Therefore, the current project compares performance in basic numerical cognition and arithmetic between PD patients with mild cognitive impairment (PD-MCI, n = 29), with normal cognition (PD-NC, n = 49), and healthy elderly (HC, n = 40). In two sessions, participants went through a comprehensive numerical (transcoding, number line estimation, non-symbolic magnitude comparison, symbolic magnitude comparison, addition, subtraction, multiplication, division) and neuropsychological test battery, as well as sociodemographic and clinical questionnaires. While controlling for confounders, we find evidence for group differences in some tasks (i.e., transcoding, addition, subtraction), but not in others (i.e., number line estimation, symbolic and non-symbolic magnitude comparison, multiplication, division). This differential picture suggests that PD leads to specific impairments in numerical cognition, going beyond domain-general cognitive deficits. For instance, non-symbolic magnitude representation seems to be preserved while verbal number processing seems to be impaired. This pattern of results is explained within the framework of current neurocognitive models of numerical cognition.

40 mins Presentation + 20 mins Q&A: Dr Sofia Eleftheriadou

Assessment of students’ collaborative problem-solving competence: current developments and challenges

(UCL) []


Collaborative problem solving (CPS) as a competence has received much attention in the educational literature especially following the release of the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) 2015 results. To evaluate whether students are equipped with this competence, assessments have been recently developed utilising aspects of computer simulations. This paper provides an analysis of systematically selected articles assessing students’ CPS competence with the use of computer-simulated, scenario-based tasks. It also discusses issues of validity based on analysis of the available, and largely unused to date, PISA 2015 CPS secondary data for England, as well as cognitive interviewing results.

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Krzysztof Cipora
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