# What difference does it make? Children's views of the differences between some quadrilaterals

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## Abstract

This paper describes an attempt to explore aspects of the language used in children's written work in a secondary mathematics classroom as a means of assessing their mathematical understanding. It focuses on children's conceptualisations of polygons and their attempts to differentiate between them. It also examines the use of database and concordancing software in deepening our understanding of a potentially major source of students' (mis) conceptions: the published materials they engage with. It describes their usefulness in providing a systematic and efficient method of analysis of materials to explore patterns within them. The method is also used to identify possible sources of students' misconceptions about the properties of polygons based on their likely exposure to potentially misleading examples in published materials.

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