Using a bottom-up approach of teaching box plots to overcome the heuristic misinterpretation of box plots. (English)

Lindmeier, Anke M. (ed.) et al., Proceedings of the 37th conference of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education “Mathematics learning across the life span", PME 37, Kiel, Germany, July 28‒August 2, 2013. Vol. 3. Kiel: IPN‒Leibniz Institute for Science and Mathematics Education at the University of Kiel (ISBN 978-3-89088-289-5). 233-240 (2013).

Summary: We studied an intervention aimed at remediating students’ tendency to interpret the area in box plots as representing the proportion or number of observations. This misinterpretation has been shown to be caused by heuristic reasoning. Using a bottom-up approach of teaching box plots, we tried to improve students’ interpretation. Most students showed improvement after the intervention, but signs of heuristic reasoning were still found. This means that under some circumstances, such as time pressure or when less attentive, these participants could still be prone to reason heuristically and hence interpret box plots incorrectly.