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The conception of substitution of the equals sign plays a unique role in students' algebra performance

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journal contribution
posted on 03.07.2018 by Emine Simsek, Iro Xenidou-Dervou, Ilyas Karadeniz, Ian Jones
Students’ conceptions of the equals sign are related to algebraic success. Research has identified two common conceptions held by children: operational and relational. The latter has been widely operationalised in terms of the sameness of the values on each side of the equals sign, but Jones, Inglis, Gilmore and Dowens (2012) argued that the substitution component of relational equivalence should also be operationalised. In this study, we investigated whether students’ endorsement of the substitution definition of the equals sign is a unique predictor of their algebra performance independent of the other two definitions (operational and sameness). Secondary school students were asked to rate the ‘cleverness’ of operational, sameness, and substitution definitions of the equals sign and completed an algebra test. Our findings demonstrate that endorsement of substitution plays a unique role in explaining secondary school students’ algebra performance above and beyond school year and the other definitions. These findings contribute new insights into how students’ algebra learning relates to their conceptions of the equals sign.

History

School

  • Science

Department

  • Mathematical Sciences

Published in

Journal of Numerical Cognition

Citation

SIMSEK, E. ... et al, 2019. The conception of substitution of the equals sign plays a unique role in students' algebra performance. Journal of Numerical Cognition, 5 (1), pp.24-37.

Publisher

The Mathematical Cognition and Learning Society

Version

VoR (Version of Record)

Publisher statement

This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/ by/4.0/

Acceptance date

18/06/2018

Publication date

2019-04-05

Notes

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, CC BY 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

ISSN

2363-8761

Language

en

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