Affect (e.g., beliefs, attitudes, emotions) plays a crucial role in mathematics learning, but reliance on verbal and written responses (from surveys, interviews, etc.) limits students’ expression of their affective states. As a complement to existing methods that rely on verbal reports, we explore how graphing can be used to study affect during mathematical experiences. We analyze three studies that used graphing to represent, stimulate recall, and reflect on affect. In each, students were asked to draw their perception of an affective construct, such as confidence or intensity of emotion, against time. The studies differed in participant populations, target affect, timescales of participant experience, and structural features of the graphs. The affordances of graphing include reduced dependence on verbal data, temporal ordering of participants’ recollections, explicit representation of change over time, and the creation of objects (the graph) for discussion. These studies as examples show that well-structured graphing can productively supplement existing methods for studying affect in mathematics education, as a different medium through which students can communicate their experience.
Satyam, V.R., Bae, Y., Smith, J.P. et al. Affect graphing: leveraging graphical representations in the study of students’ affect in mathematics. Educ Stud Math 110, 481–501 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10649-021-10131-3
Educ Stud Math