Special Issue 2020

The relation between mathematics achievement and spatial reasoning

The proposed special issue will examine how spatial reasoning, the mental manipulation of 2D and 3D relations, supports mathematics achievement. The relation between spatial reasoning and mathematics achievement across development is consistent, predictive and strengthens over time (Resnick, Newcombe, & Jordan, 2019). Fortunately, spatial reasoning can be learned and improved with practice (Lowrie et al., 2018; Uttal et al., 2013), and improvements in spatial reasoning are causally related to improvements in mathematics understanding (Cheng & Mix, 2014; Lowrie et al., 2017).

This special issue will draw together research across the fields of mathematics education, cognition and development to examine how spatial reasoning supports mathematics achievement. The editors have a wealth of experience in this field – Lowrie and Logan in Australia, Singapore and Indonesia, Resnick in the United States and Australia.

The Editors

Tom Lowrie, University of Canberra, Australia
Ilyse Resnick, Department of Psychology, Penn State University Lehigh Valley, Center Valley, USA
Tracy Logan, Faculty of Education, University of Canberra, Bruce, Australia
Danielle Harris, University of Canberra, Canberra, Australia

Professor Lowrie is well recognised in the Mathematics Education Research Group of Australasia (MERGA) community as a past-President. He is an active reviewer for a number of Mathematics Education journals including Mathematics Education Research Journal (MERJ), Educational Studies in Mathematics, International Journal of Science and Mathematics Education and Teaching Education, as well as cognitive journals such as Journal of Cognition and Development. He has a strong reputation in Mathematics Education, presenting on the relation between spatial reasoning and mathematics at MERGA, internationally and in books and both mathematics education and cognitive journals.

Dr Resnick completed her Ph.D. at the Spatial Intelligence Learning Center, working closely with Nora Newcombe (Laura H. Carnell Professor at Temple University), as well as undertaking a highly competitive Institute of Education Sciences Postdoctoral Research Fellowship, applying cognitive science findings in spatial reasoning to mathematics education. She presented her work on proportional reasoning at the most recent MERGA conference. Resnick has published and reviewed in this field in books and prestigious journals, as well as presented at international conferences in the fields of numerical cognition and cognitive science.

Dr Logan completed her Ph.D. in mathematics education at the STEM Education Research Centre, working closely with Professor Robyn Jorgensen. She has been involved in five ARC Discovery grants where her research has focused on student's spatial reasoning, mathematics assessment and the use of digital tools for mathematics sense making. She is an active reviewer for a number of Mathematics journals including Mathematics Education Research Journal (MERJ), Educational Assessment, Computers & Education and Mathematics Teacher Education and Development. Logan and Lowrie co-authored a chapter and a commentary in the recent publication Visualizing Mathematics: The Role of Spatial Reasoning in Mathematical Thought. Logan was also part of the editorial team for the Research in Mathematics Education in Australasia 2008-2011 4-yearly review.

Harris has a Bachelor of Psychology (Honours). She has been involved in four ARC Discovery grants focused on learning in digital environments, spatial reasoning and mathematics. She has presented at the last two MERGA conferences in the field of spatial reasoning and mathematics.

The Special Issue will be undertaken as per the usual process with the Springer on-line system and MERGA processes. The Editors would prefer to include papers that cover a broad sweep of the field in terms of early years, primary, secondary and tertiary mathematics with particular focus on the following themes:

a. Where the research identifies connections between individual spatial reasoning skills and mathematics concepts/tasks to inform targeted intervention.

b. Where the focus relates to approaches for improving spatial reasoning in relation to mathematics education.

c. Theoretical contributions that examine the underlying relationship between spatial reasoning and mathematics.

Expressions of Interest via submission of extended abstract (400 – 600 words)

Your abstract should include:

• Title | Author (s) | Key Words.

• Brief mention of key literature and your research question(s) or reason for paper.

• Theoretical / Methodological Framework directing the study.

• Evidence to be included to address research question.

• Findings / Discussions.

• How your paper adds to domain knowledge and the implications of the research.

Email extended abstracts to SERCeditorial@canberra.edu.au

The MERJ Editorial board has requested to publish this special edition as the first edition of 2020. We recognize this is a narrow timeline, and encourage authors to contribute to this important work. Please email SERCeditorial@canberra.edu.au if there are any questions about submissions.

25th August 2019: Please submit extended abstract prior to this date.

Editors will consider suitability of abstracts and invite accepted authors by the end of August 2019 to submit a full paper.

31st October 2019: Please submit full papers prior to this date.

November 2019: Review of papers. Authors will be notified by December 1st.

December 2019: Final editing of accepted papers (submission to Springer via on-line process as papers are accepted ready for publication).

January 2020: Review by Springer.

February 2020: Publication by Springer.

Cheng, Y.-L., & Mix, K. S. (2014). Spatial training improves children's mathematics ability. Journal of Cognition and Development, 15(1), 2-11.

Lowrie, T., Logan, T., Harris, D., & Hegarty, M. (2018). The impact of an intervention program on students’ spatial reasoning: Student engagement through mathematics-enhanced learning activities. Cognitive Research: Principles and Implications, 3(50), 1-10.

Lowrie, T., Logan, T., & Ramful, A. (2017). Visuospatial training improves elementary students’ mathematics performance. British Journal of Education Psychology, 87, 170-186.

Resnick, I., Newcombe, N.S., & Jordan, N.C. (2019). The relation between spatial reasoning and mathematics achievement in children with mathematics learning difficulties. In P. Rasanen (Ed.), International handbook of mathematical learning difficulties. Springer.

Uttal, D. H., Meadow, N. G., Tipton, E., Hand, L. L., Alden, A. R., Warren, C., & Newcombe, N. S. (2013). The malleability of spatial skills: a meta-analysis of training studies. Psychological Bulletin, 139(2), 352-402.