The reversal error—reversing the relationship between two variables in a mathematical word problem—is a long-standing issue in mathematics education, despite its apparent simplicity. In this paper, we describe and study POETIC, an interactive web-based environment we developed to teach users to avoid the reversal error. POETIC uses two types of novel interactive visualization, called the Test-Case and Room-Metaphor approaches. To verify the effectiveness of these approaches, we conducted crowdsourcing-based comparison studies with 200 participants and found that both approaches significantly decreased the frequency of reversal errors for certain types of word problems. Our results show that interactive visualization of equations can reduce the occurrence of the reversal error. Keywords: mathematics education, reversal error, interactive visualization, test-case, room-metaphor.
Date of this Version
NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in International Journal of Human-Computer Studies. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, [VOL 72, ISSUE 1, August 7, 2013. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijhcs.2013.09.010