Instructional Science

, Volume 33, Issue 4, pp 341–366 | Cite as

Assessing schematic knowledge of introductory probability theory

  • Damian P. Birney
  • Gerard J. Fogarty
  • Ashley Plank


The ability to identify schematic knowledge is an important goal for both assessment and instruction. In the current paper, schematic knowledge of statistical probability theory is explored from the declarative-procedural framework using multiple methods of assessment. A sample of 90 undergraduate introductory statistics students was required to classify 10 pairs of probability problems as similar or different; to identify whether 15 problems contained sufficient, irrelevant, or missing information (text-edit); and to solve 10 additional problems. The complexity of the schema on which the problems were based was also manipulated. Detailed analyses compared text-editing and solution accuracy as a function of text-editing category and schema complexity. Results showed that text-editing tends to be easier than solution and differentially sensitive to schema complexity. While text-editing and classification were correlated with solution, only text-editing problems with missing information uniquely predicted success. In light of previous research these results suggest that text-editing is suitable for supplementing the assessment of schematic knowledge in development.


assessing schematic knowledge statistical probability theory text-editing 


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Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Damian P. Birney
    • 1
  • Gerard J. Fogarty
    • 2
  • Ashley Plank
    • 2
  1. 1.School of PsychologyUniversity of SydneyNSW, SydneyAustralia
  2. 2.University of Southern QueenslandQueenslandAustralia

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