Original Research

Accessing and assessing young learner’s mathematical dispositions

mellony Graven
South African Journal of Childhood Education | Vol 2, No 1 | a21 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajce.v2i1.21 | © 2012 mellony Graven | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 30 April 2014 | Published: 01 July 2012

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mellony Graven, Rhodes university, South Africa

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It is argued in this paper that there is an absence of literature relating to research on learner mathematical dispositions, particularly with young learners. Drawing on Kilpatrick, Swafford and Findell’s (2001) five interrelated strands of mathematical proficiency, which include: conceptual understanding, procedural fluency, strategic competence, adaptive reasoning and productive disposition, it is argued that there has been little engagement with productive disposition in the field of mathematics education and how we might access and assess this strand. Despite competence in all strands being essential for mathematical proficiency, literature and assessments that seek to establish learner levels of mathematical proficiency have tended to focus on the first four and have neglected the last; productive disposition. Finding ways in which to access student mathematical learning dispositions can be challenging, especially with young learners who struggle to articulate their views. An instrument is shared that the author has designed with doctoral fellow, Debbie Stott, in order to access and assess the productive disposition of learners participating in maths clubs run within the South African Numeracy Chair. The findings that emerge in one Grade 3 club with six learners is shared. These findings are related to the data collected through instruments that assess the other four strands of mathematical proficiency. This enables a holistic picture of learner’s mathematical proficiency as intended in the conceptualisation of the interrelated five strands of proficiency.


productive disposition; five strands of mathematical proficiency, young learners.


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Crossref Citations

1. Strengthening maths learning dispositions through ‘math clubs’
Mellony Graven
South African Journal of Childhood Education  vol: 5  issue: 3  year: 2016  
doi: 10.4102/sajce.v5i3.342