ERIC Number: ED433245
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1999-Apr
Reference Count: N/A
A Developmental Model of Algebra Problem Solving: Trade-offs between Grounded and Abstract Representations.
Koedinger, Kenneth R.; Alibali, Martha W.; Nathan, Mitchell J.
This paper presents a developmental model of students' acquisition of competence in quantitative and algebraic problem solving. A key notion underlying the developmental model is a distinction between grounded and abstract representations. Grounded representations, like story problems, are more concrete and familiar, closer to physical objects and everyday events. Abstract representations, like symbolic equations, are concise and easy to manipulate, but are distanced from any physical objects of reference. The complementary computational characteristics of grounded and abstract representations lead to hypotheses about the order of skill acquisition. In prior research, the authors demonstrated that early in the development of algebraic competence, the advantages of grounded representations outweigh those of abstract representations--for simpler problems, students are better at story problems than the analogous equations. This paper presents two studies that test the hypothesis that later in algebra development, the advantages of abstract representations emerge--for more complex problems, students are better at equations than the analogous story problems. Includes 6 tables, 7 figures, and 16 references. (Author/WRM)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A