Compared to what? The effects of different comparisons on conceptual knowledge and procedural flexibility for equation solving
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CitationRittle-Johnson, Bethany, and Jon R. Star. 2009. Compared to what? The effects of different comparisons on conceptual knowledge and procedural flexibility for equation solving. Journal of Educational Psychology, 101, no.3: 529-544.
AbstractResearchers in both cognitive science and mathematics education emphasize the importance of comparison for learning and transfer. However, surprisingly little is known about the advantages and disadvantages of what types of things are being compared. In this experimental study, 162 7th- and 8th-grade students learned to solve equations by comparing equivalent problems solved with the same solution method, by comparing different problem types solved with the same solution method, or by comparing different solution methods to the same problem. Students' conceptual knowledge and procedural flexibility were best supported by comparing solution methods, and to a lesser extent by comparing problem types. The benefits of comparison are augmented when examples differ on relevant features, and contrasting methods may be particularly useful in mathematics learning.
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