Methodological issues when studying the relationship between reading and solving mathematical tasks
Magnus Österholm and Ewa Bergqvist
In this paper we examine four statistical methods used for characterizing mathematical test items regarding their demands of reading ability. These methods rely on data of students’ performance on test items regarding mathematics and reading and include the use of regression analysis, principal component analysis, and different uses of correlation coefficients. Our investigation of these methods focuses on aspects of validity and reliability, using data from PISA 2003 and 2006. The results show that the method using principal component analysis has the best properties when taking into account aspects of both validity and reliability.
Magnus Österholm has a PhD in mathematics education from Linköping University and now works as a research fellow at the Department of Science and Mathematics Education at Umeå University. He is also a member of Umeå Mathematics Education Research Centre (UMERC). During 2011 and 2012 he is a visiting scholar at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. His research interests deal primarily with mathematics education at the upper secondary and university levels, where cognitive and metacognitive perspectives are of special interest, together with studying language and communication in the learning and teaching of mathematics.
Ewa Bergqvist has a PhD in mathematics education from Umeå University and is an assistant professor at the Department of Science and Mathematics Education at Umeå University. She is a member of Umeå Mathematics Education Research Centre (UMERC) and a teacher in mathematics education for pre-service mathematics teachers. Her research focuses mainly on language, competencies, and reasoning in upper secondary and university level mathematics.