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Study on Reading Comprehension, Affect, and Modelling: A Cross-Cultural Comparison between Germany and Taiwan

Many countries have emphasized mathematical modelling in their mathematics curricula because of its value in both serving as the foundation of mathematical literacy and improving students’ mathematical literacy. In Germany, mathematical modelling is one of six compulsory competencies in the German Educational Standards of mathematics. Although the PISA-oriented assessment had been adopted to select the top achievers in Taiwan, mathematical modelling has not been explicitly viewed as a key competency in Taiwanese mathematical curricula.

In this comparative study, we made the following theoretical considerations. First, on the basis of research from psychology and mathematics education, we argue that content-specific prior knowledge (PK), reading comprehension (RC), and task-specific affect (TSA) are important factors that are related to students’ abilities to solve modelling problems.

Second, we argue that improving students’ reading comprehension to enhance their abilities to solve modelling problems requires a delicate mechanism that can help them specifically filter useful information from the task and then re-organize the information. More specifically, we hypothesize that presenting students with reading comprehension prompts will improve their modelling performance because answering the reading questions might lead them to develop a deeper comprehension of the real-world situation presented in the text.

The findings of this study should provide useful information for comparing diverse students’ abilities to solve modelling tasks. Moreover, we expect that the results of our study will provide suggestions for future instruction and curriculum development.

Research Goals

  • To examine the differences in modelling performance between German and Taiwanese students
  • To investigate the relations between PK, RC, TSA, and mathematical modelling
  • To investigate the effects of prompting RC on mathematical modelling in Germany and Taiwan


Stanislaw Schukajlow, Janina Krawitz (University of Münster, Germany)

Kai-Lin Yang (National Taiwan Normal University Taipei, Taiwan)

Yu-Ping Chang (Wenzhou University, China)



Krawitz, J., Chang, Y.-P., Yang, K.-L., & Schukajlow, S. (online first, 2021). The role of reading comprehension in mathematical modelling: Improving the construction of a real model and interest in Germany and Taiwan. Educational Studies in Mathematics.

Chang, YP., Krawitz, J., Schukajlow, S. & Yang, K.-L., (2019) Comparing German and Taiwanese secondary school students’ knowledge in solving mathematical modelling tasks requiring their assumptions. ZDM Mathematics Education, 52, 59–72.

Krawitz, J., Schukajlow, S., Chang, Y.-P., & Yang, K.-L. (2018). Helfen Leseverständnisfragen, Modellierungsaufgaben zu lösen? Deutsche und taiwanesische Schüler im Vergleich [Do reading comprehension prompts help solving modelling tasks? A comperison of german and taiwanese students]. In Fachgruppe Didaktik der Mathematik der Universität Paderborn (Ed.), Beiträge zum Mathematikunterricht 2018 (S. 1083-1086). Münster: WTM-Verlag

Krawitz, J., Schukajlow, S., Chang, Y.-P. & Yang, K.-L. (2017). Reading comprehension, enjoyment, and performance: how important is a deeper situation model? In B. Kaur, W. K. Ho, T. L. Toh & B. H. Choy (Hrsg.), Proceedings of the 41th Conference of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education (Bd. 3, S. 97-104). Singapur: PME.