NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ1128883
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017-Mar
Pages: 14
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0007-0998
Number Sense in the Transition from Natural to Rational Numbers
Van Hoof, Jo; Verschaffel, Lieven; Van Dooren, Wim
British Journal of Educational Psychology, v87 n1 p43-56 Mar 2017
Background: Rational numbers are of critical importance both in mathematics and in other fields of science. However, they form a stumbling block for learners. One widely known source of the difficulty learners have with rational numbers is the natural number bias, that is the tendency to (inappropriately) apply natural number properties in rational number tasks. Still, it has been shown that a good understanding of natural numbers is highly predictive for mathematics achievement in general, and for performance on rational number tasks in particular. Aims: In this study, we further investigated the relation between learners' natural and rational number knowledge, specifically in cases where a natural number bias may lead to errors. Sample: Participants were 140 sixth graders from six different primary schools. Method: Participants completed a symbolic and a non-symbolic natural number comparison task, a number line estimation task, and a rational number sense test. Results: Learners' natural number knowledge was found to be a good predictor of their rational number knowledge. However, after first controlling for learners' general mathematics achievement, their natural number knowledge only predicted the subaspect of operations with rational numbers. Conclusion: The results of this study suggest that the relation between learners' natural and rational number knowledge can largely be explained by their relation with learners' general mathematics achievement.
Wiley-Blackwell. 350 Main Street, Malden, MA 02148. Tel: 800-835-6770; Tel: 781-388-8598; Fax: 781-388-8232; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Grade 6; Intermediate Grades; Middle Schools; Elementary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Belgium
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A