Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Title: Teachers' appraisals of adjectives relating to mathematics tasks
Authors: Foster, Colin
Inglis, Matthew
First Published: 9-Mar-2017
Publisher: Springer Verlag
Citation: Educational Studies in Mathematics, 2017, 95 (3), pp. 283-301
Abstract: Curricular implementations are unlikely to deliver the anticipated benefits for mathematics learners if written guidance to teachers is interpreted and enacted differently from the ways that policymakers and curriculum designers intend. One way in which this could happen is in relation to the mathematics tasks that teachers deploy in the classroom. Teachers and curriculum designers have developed an extensive vocabulary for describing tasks, using adjectives such as ‘rich’, ‘open’, ‘real-life’, ‘engaging’ and so on. But do teachers have a shared understanding of what these adjectives mean when they are applied to mathematics tasks? In study 1, we investigated teachers’ appraisals of adjectives used to describe mathematics tasks, finding that task appraisals vary on seven dimensions, which we termed engagement, demand, routineness, strangeness, inquiry, context and interactivity. In study 2, focusing on the five most prominent dimensions, we investigated whether teachers have a shared understanding of the meaning of adjectives when applied to mathematics tasks. We found that there was some agreement about inquiry and context, some disagreement about routineness and clear disagreement about engagement and demand. We conclude that at least some adjectives commonly used to describe tasks are interpreted very differently by different teachers. Implications for how tasks might be discussed meaningfully by teachers, teacher educators and curriculum designers are highlighted.
DOI Link: 10.1007/s10649-017-9750-y
ISSN: 0013-1954
eISSN: 1573-0816
Version: Publisher Version
Status: Peer-reviewed
Type: Journal Article
Rights: Copyright © the authors, 2017. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Appears in Collections:Published Articles, School of Education

Files in This Item:
File Description SizeFormat 
10.1007%2Fs10649-017-9750-y.pdfPublished (publisher PDF)567.34 kBAdobe PDFView/Open

Items in LRA are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.