Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Mathematical Sciences


Lawrence M. Lesser

Second Advisor

Kien H. Lim


Students often have misconceptions in their probabilistic reasoning--one such misconception is the overuse of the representativeness heuristic, in which one determines that one event is more likely than another event based on how representative the event is of some aspect of its parent population. A research study was conducted to address high school students' overuse of the representativeness heuristic using three groups: (i) a prediction-and-voting group in which students were taught a lesson on probability with the use of prediction and classroom voting teaching methods, (ii) a prediction-only group where students were taught the lesson using only prediction, and (iii) a comparison group in which students were taught without the use of prediction or classroom voting. Analyses of pre- and post-test data indicate that while all three student groups showed improvement in their use of the representativeness heuristic; the students in the prediction-and-voting and prediction-only groups did not do statistically better than the comparison group in terms of replacing their overuse of the representativeness heuristic with correct probabilistic reasoning. Test data analyses also revealed that the prediction-and-voting group was the only group that did not show a tendency to inappropriately answer "equally likely" to probabilistic problems. This indicates that prediction and classroom-voting teaching methods might foster deeper levels of thinking and improved judgment in students, as opposed to indiscriminately applying newly learned ideas.




Received from ProQuest

File Size

229 pages

File Format


Rights Holder

Tami Kay Dashley