Towards a Definition of Representational Competence

  • Kristy L. DanielEmail author
  • Carrie Jo Bucklin
  • E. Austin Leone
  • Jenn Idema
Part of the Models and Modeling in Science Education book series (MMSE, volume 11)


Currently, there is not a consensus in science education regarding representational competence as a unified theoretical framework. There are multiple theories of representational competence in the literature that use differing perspectives on what competence means and entails. Furthermore, dependent largely on the discipline, language discrepancies cause a potential barrier for merging ideas and pushing forward in this area. In science, representations are used to display data, organize complex information, and promote a shared understanding of scientific phenomena. As such, for the purposes of this text, we define representational competence as a way of describing how a person uses a variety of perceptions of reality to make sense of and communicate understandings. While a single unified theory may not be a realistic goal, strides need to be taken towards working as a unified research community to better investigate and interpret representational competence. Thus, this chapter will define aspects of representational competence, modes of representations, and the role of a representational competence theoretical framework in science education research and practice.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kristy L. Daniel
    • 1
    Email author
  • Carrie Jo Bucklin
    • 2
  • E. Austin Leone
    • 3
  • Jenn Idema
    • 1
  1. 1.Texas State UniversitySan MarcosUSA
  2. 2.Southern Utah UniversityCedar CityUSA
  3. 3.Oklahoma State UniversityStillwaterUSA

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