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Categorization and Analysis of Explanatory Writing in Mathematics

IJMEST Volume 42, Number 7, ISSN 0020-739X


The aim of this article is to present a scheme for coding and categorizing students' written explanations of mathematical problem-solving activities. The scheme was used successfully within a study project carried out to determine whether student problem-solving behaviour could be positively affected by writing explanatory strategies to mathematical problem-solving processes. The rationale for the study was the recognized importance of mathematical problem-solving, the widely acknowledged challenge of teaching problem-solving skills directly and the evidence in the literature that writing in mathematics provides a tool for learning. The study was carried out in a first-year mathematics course at the University of Cape Town, South Africa. Students' written submissions were categorized and analysed through use of an adaptation of a journal entry classification scheme. The scheme successfully observed positive changes over the experimental period in students' level of engagement with the mathematical material and with their stance towards knowledge. (Contains 7 notes.)


Craig, T.S. (2011). Categorization and Analysis of Explanatory Writing in Mathematics. International Journal of Mathematical Education in Science and Technology, 42(7), 867-878. Retrieved August 13, 2020 from .

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