Asymmetry in student achievement on multiple choice and constructed response items in reversible mathematics processes

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Abstract

In this paper we report the results of an experiment designed to test the hypothesis that when faced with a question involving the inverse direction of a reversible mathematical process, students solve a multiple-choice version by verifying the answers presented to them by the direct method, not by undertaking the actual inverse calculation. Participants responded to an online test containing equivalent multiple-choice and constructed-response items in two reversible algebraic techniques: factor/expand and solve/verify. The findings supported this hypothesis: Overall scores were higher in the multiple-choice condition compared to the constructed-response condition, but this advantage was significantly greater for items concerning the inverse direction of reversible processes compared to those involving direct processes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)205-222
Number of pages18
JournalEducational Studies in Mathematics
Volume94
Issue number2
Early online date9 Sep 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2017

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