The use of additive composition in arithmetic: the case of children classified as low-attainers

Voutsina, Chronoula and Ismail, Qaimah (2011) The use of additive composition in arithmetic: the case of children classified as low-attainers. Research in Mathematics Education, 13, (3), 287-303. (doi:10.1080/14794802.2011.624750).


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This study investigated the conceptual understanding that low-attaining children have and are able to use in arithmetic. Fifteen 6-7 year old children solved pairs of conceptually-related addition problems. Conceptual relations between equal problems were constructed to reflect aspects of the principle of additive composition. Children’s conceptual understanding was explored by examining their capability to use concept-based approaches in related problems, and ability to recognise and explain additive composition relationships. The findings indicate that, when prompted, children who employ only basic calculation procedures have the capability to recognise and use additive composition relations in problem solving. Almost all children showed increased sensitivity to additive composition relations when asked to explain the equality between related problems. Our findings highlight the need to develop pedagogical approaches that instigate low-attaining children’s conceptual capabilities and support the operationalisation of these in the kinds of concept-based strategies that are most typically ascribed to high-attaining children.

Item Type: Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi:10.1080/14794802.2011.624750
ISSNs: 1479-4802 (print)
1754-0178 (electronic)
Subjects: L Education > L Education (General)
Divisions : University Structure - Pre August 2011 > School of Education > Mathematics and Science Education
ePrint ID: 142495
Accepted Date and Publication Date:
Date Deposited: 01 Apr 2010 10:45
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2016 13:18

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