The effect of perceived qualities of curriculum materials on mathematical performance
Rule, Audrey C.
Sobierajski, Mickey Jo
Schell, Robert E.
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A qualitative and quantitative study of the effects of perceived beauty, motivation, distractibility, and legibility upon the mathematical performance of preservice teachers (N=76; 66F, 10M) and fourth graders (N=67; 36F, 31M) using boards made of four materials that varied widely in these characteristics was conducted. Each board had nine numbers arranged in a three by three grid and an additional target number at the top. Students formed equations with three numbers in a row that resulted in the target number. Significant differences in mathematical performance across materials were found with participants writing more equations for boards that were perceived as high in beauty and motivation (a construct called "Enticement") and high in legibility but low in distraction (another construct called "Focus"). Children judged beauty mostly on color and texture, whereas adults included neatness and artistic appeal.