The role of semiotic resources when reading and solving mathematics tasks
One part of being proficient in mathematics is to be able to read and solve mathematics tasks where mathematics is represented using different semiotic resources (i.e. natural language, mathematical notation, and different types of images). In the current study, statistical methods are used to investigate the potential meaning that the presence and co-occurrences of semiotic resources have for how demanding a mathematical task is to read and solve. The results reveal that the number of different semiotic resources in a mathematical task is not related to difficulty, but that difficulty is related to the particular combinations of semiotic resources where pictorial images are one of the resources. The results also indicate that the difficulty related to these semiotic characteristics is not related to an unnecessary reading demand.
Anneli Dyrvold is a PhD student in mathematics education at the Department of Mathematics and Mathematical Statistics at Umeå University. She is a member of Umeå Mathematics Education Research Centre (UMERC). Her research interest is the affordances, and distinguishing characteristics, of the language of mathematics and what students need to learn in order to master it.