Evaluation of Changes in Cognitive Structures after the Learning Process in Mathematics

Sofia Veríssimo, Vitor Godinho Lopes, Luis Manuel Casas Garcia, Ricardo Luengo González

Abstract


This article focuses on the study of the changes produced in the cognitive structures of students due to the learning process using the Pathfinder Associative Networks technique and the GOLUCA software to graphically represent these structures. This way it is possible to identify the concepts that stand out and the relationships established between them, and thus assess whether the student establishes correct or incorrect relationships. The research involved 188 students aged between 14 and 16 years, attending the 9th grade in several schools in Portugal. First, a network was built in order to represent the structure of relationships between concepts that could be considered correct in a matter of geometry. Afterwards the cognitive structure of the students participating in the pretest in that area was obtained. Subsequently the participating teachers came to teach a unit on geometry. In the post-test, data were collected on the cognitive structure of students, reassessing relations between concepts, and checking what was right or wrong, and the modifications to the pretest. The results indicate that, using this technique it is possible to evaluate the student learning in detail, not only globally, but checking in detail the type of relationships established between the concepts.

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