Copying equations to assess mathematical competence: An evaluation of pause measures using graphical protocol analysis


Can mathematical competence be measured by analyzing the patterns of pauses between written elements in the freehand copying of mathematical equations? Twenty participants of varying levels of mathematical competence copied sets of equations and sequences of numbers on a graphics tablet. The third quartile of pauses is an effective measure, because it re- flects the greater number of chunks and the longer time spent per chunk by novices as they processed the equations. To compensate for individual differences in speeds of elementary operations and skill in writing basic mathematical symbols, variants on the measure were devised and tested

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