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ERIC Number: ED549433
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 70
Abstractor: As Provided
ISBN: 978-1-2674-0653-8
Integrating Procedural and Conceptual Knowledge in Mathematics through Causal Learning: A Causal Contrast Approach
Walker, Jessica M.
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, University of California, Los Angeles
Traditional mathematics education focuses on teaching rote procedures to solve problems, though these procedures are not usually motivated by goals. As a result, students have trouble flexibly using procedures and generalizing their knowledge to solve novel problems that differ from the problems they practice during instruction. In the following series of studies testing university and community college students, a causal-comparison based educational intervention (on high-school algebra) was administered in an attempt to recruit causal learning to aid mathematics performance. Through a series of difficult problems and comparison tasks, the causal-comparison intervention was designed to aid students' discovery of i) the cause(s) of their failure to solve a difficult problem, ii) the ways to prevent those causes, and iii) and the point of a mathematical procedure. This was accomplished through comparison tasks in which students compare difficult problems to contrasting problems with major sources of difficulty removed. Experiment 1 tested the causal-contrast intervention against a traditional procedure-based intervention and found that the contrast approach results in a dramatically enhanced ability to generalize and solve transfer problems. Experiment 2 tested the components of the contrast protocol and found that it is failures to solve problems followed by causal contrasts that leads to the dramatic improvement seen in the contrast group. Experiment 3 replicated the findings of Experiment I and ruled out the hypothesis that a confound in Experiment 1--reflection questions appearing in the contrast intervention only--contributed to that robust effect. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education; Two Year Colleges
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A