Large-Scale Survey of Students’ Skills in Reading Math Definitions

AbstractMathematical text reading seems to require a different type of literacy than others since it heavily introduces abstract concepts and require strict logical and literal reading. In this paper, we focus on grades 6–11 (elementary through high school) students’ skill in reading math definitions, but not problem solving. Our experiment showed that their skills in reading and understanding math definitions improves as long as math is obligatory (through the 10th grade) but reaches a plateau very quickly after that. However, teaching a math definition and using it to solve exercise problems in the classroom do not seem to improve students’ ability of reading that specific definition.

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