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      Hand Position Affects Performance on Multiplication Tasks


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          We investigated whether or not hand placement affects people’s ability to apply learned mathematical information in new and familiar contexts. Participants learned a set of arithmetic facts presented one way (i.e., in a × b = c format) and then were tested on those same facts shown in either a novel format (b × a = __) in Experiment 1 or in the previously-learned format (a × b = __) in Experiment 2. Throughout study and test, participants’ hands were either near to or far from the stimuli. Performance on the novel format was worse when the hands were near compared to far, but performance on the previously-learned format did not depend on hand placement. Together, results indicate that hand proximity impairs mathematical performance when performance depends on the abstracting of conceptual information from sensory information. We conclude that hand placement may be involved in the application of knowledge.

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          Active learning increases student performance in science, engineering, and mathematics.

          To test the hypothesis that lecturing maximizes learning and course performance, we metaanalyzed 225 studies that reported data on examination scores or failure rates when comparing student performance in undergraduate science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) courses under traditional lecturing versus active learning. The effect sizes indicate that on average, student performance on examinations and concept inventories increased by 0.47 SDs under active learning (n = 158 studies), and that the odds ratio for failing was 1.95 under traditional lecturing (n = 67 studies). These results indicate that average examination scores improved by about 6% in active learning sections, and that students in classes with traditional lecturing were 1.5 times more likely to fail than were students in classes with active learning. Heterogeneity analyses indicated that both results hold across the STEM disciplines, that active learning increases scores on concept inventories more than on course examinations, and that active learning appears effective across all class sizes--although the greatest effects are in small (n ≤ 50) classes. Trim and fill analyses and fail-safe n calculations suggest that the results are not due to publication bias. The results also appear robust to variation in the methodological rigor of the included studies, based on the quality of controls over student quality and instructor identity. This is the largest and most comprehensive metaanalysis of undergraduate STEM education published to date. The results raise questions about the continued use of traditional lecturing as a control in research studies, and support active learning as the preferred, empirically validated teaching practice in regular classrooms.
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            Individual Differences in Inhibitory Control, Not Non-Verbal Number Acuity, Correlate with Mathematics Achievement

            Given the well-documented failings in mathematics education in many Western societies, there has been an increased interest in understanding the cognitive underpinnings of mathematical achievement. Recent research has proposed the existence of an Approximate Number System (ANS) which allows individuals to represent and manipulate non-verbal numerical information. Evidence has shown that performance on a measure of the ANS (a dot comparison task) is related to mathematics achievement, which has led researchers to suggest that the ANS plays a critical role in mathematics learning. Here we show that, rather than being driven by the nature of underlying numerical representations, this relationship may in fact be an artefact of the inhibitory control demands of some trials of the dot comparison task. This suggests that recent work basing mathematics assessments and interventions around dot comparison tasks may be inappropriate.
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              Skills underlying mathematics: The role of executive function in the development of mathematics proficiency


                Author and article information

                J Numer Cogn
                Journal of Numerical Cognition
                J. Numer. Cogn.
                15 June 2020
                : 6
                : 1
                : 1-21
                [a ]Department of Psychology, Central Michigan University, Mount Pleasant, MI, USA
                [b ]Department of Psychology, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN, USA
                Author notes
                [* ]Department of Psychology, University of Notre Dame, 390 Corbett Family Hall, Notre Dame, IN 46556, USA. James.Brockmole@ 123456nd.edu
                Copyright @ 2020

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) 4.0 License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                : 05 February 2019
                : 04 March 2019
                Empirical Research

                hand posture,action,STEM education,embodied cognition,mathematical learning and performance,hand placement


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