Loughborough University
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Domain-specific and domain-general skills in the identification of conceptually-derived arithmetic strategies

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posted on 2020-11-25, 15:26 authored by Joanne Eaves
Conceptual knowledge of key principles underlying arithmetic is an important precursor to understanding algebra and success in mathematics. One such
principle is associativity, which allows groups of operations to be performed in a different order from that in which they are presented. For example, the problem '6 + 38 - 35' can be solved through an efficient 'shortcut' strategy
of '38 - 35 = 3' and then 3 + 6 = 9'. One issue is that, of all the widely discussed arithmetic principles associativity is the one that individuals have greatest difficulty with, in that they often fail to apply it when solving arithmetic problems. Educators have called for this to change, and for individuals' knowledge and use of arithmetic principles to improve. This thesis contributes to that goal by investigating the cognitive processes involved in using the associativity shortcut, and the ways in which shortcut use can be encouraged.



  • Science


  • Mathematics Education Centre


Loughborough University

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© Joanne Eaves

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A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of the degree of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.


  • en


Camilla Gilmore ; Nina Attridge

Qualification name

  • PhD

Qualification level

  • Doctoral

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