The current research in mathematics education recommends to measure how well students are able to apply their knowledge and mathematical skills and use them to solve problems in a real-life context but an increasing body of research has been ambivalent about the effects of contextualising mathematical tasks on students’ performance.
Thus, the present piece of research aims to investigate the effect of an alteration of item-context on students’ performance, if any, on mathematics items. Items with the same mathematical core whilst varying in objective figurative context are used in this study. The study will also examine to what extent the nature of demand of the item-context may affect students’ performance. A mixed method approach is used due to the character of the research aims.
In this study significant differences were not been found in students’ performance when they solved items across altered contexts; but evidence indicated that students’ performance on items required the second-order use of context may be more influenced by the alteration of context.
The results of this research give some insight into how the second-order use of context may influence students’ performance on mathematics items. This outcome enhances the understanding of contextualised mathematical assessment and provides a foundation for future research into contextualised mathematical tasks.