Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

Frontiers in Psychology


Frontiers Media S.A.


School of Education




DFG (German Research Foundation, 491454339)


Rott, B., Barton, L., & Hatisaru, V. (2023). What do mathematics lessons look like? analyses of primary students’ drawings. Frontiers in Psychology, 14, 1019299.


The use of student drawings to assess their experiences and beliefs about teaching and learning of mathematics has become almost a regular research method – especially when working with young students who may not express themselves well, for example, in self-report questionnaires. These methods, nevertheless, need to be improved regarding their objectivity and validity. By building on the existing research, in this study, we focus on objectivity and validity issues in drawing-based methods. We use a drawing-based instrument: Draw A Mathematics Classroom (DAMC) and present 104 fourth-grade students to draw a picture of their regular mathematics lessons. We especially aim to develop and validate a data coding manual with low-inferent categories; that is, well-operationalizable categories that can be used with high interrater-reliability like the presence of teachers, the arrangement of student desks, and teacher-student interactions. The results reveal that almost half of the participating students perceive their lessons as teacher-centered. The results also confirm the reliability and validity of the methodological approach. For example, in pictures where the teacher is depicted larger than the students, the teacher is also depicted in the center, and students are pictured working alone. Classroom observations support students’ perceptions, and all these show that the manual used in this study is useful to getting insights into young students’ perceptions of their mathematics classroom.



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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.