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ERIC Number: EJ1149169
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017-Aug
Pages: 13
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1863-9690
Using Comparison of Multiple Strategies in the Mathematics Classroom: Lessons Learned and Next Steps
Durkin, Kelley; Star, Jon R.; Rittle-Johnson, Bethany
ZDM: The International Journal on Mathematics Education, v49 n4 p585-597 Aug 2017
Comparison is a fundamental cognitive process that can support learning in a variety of domains, including mathematics. The current paper aims to summarize empirical findings that support recommendations on using comparison of multiple strategies in mathematics classrooms. We report the results of our classroom-based research on using comparison of multiple strategies to help students learn mathematics, which includes short-term experimental research and a year-long randomized controlled trial using a researcher-designed supplemental Algebra I curriculum. Findings indicated that comparing different solution methods for solving the same problem was particularly effective for supporting procedural flexibility across students and for supporting conceptual and procedural knowledge among students with some prior knowledge of one of the methods, but that teachers may need additional support in deciding what to compare and when to use comparison. Drawing from this research, we offer instructional recommendations for the effective use of comparison of multiple strategies for improving mathematics learning, including (a) regular and frequent comparison of alternative strategies, particularly after students have developed some fluency with one initial strategy; (b) judicious selection of strategies and problems to compare; (c) carefully-designed visual presentation of the multiple strategies; and (d) use of small group and whole class discussions around the comparison of multiple strategies, focusing particularly on the similarities, differences, affordances, and constraints of the different approaches. We conclude with suggestions for future work on comparing multiple strategies, including the continuing need for the development of, and rigorous evaluation of, curriculum materials and specific instructional techniques that effectively promote comparison.
Springer. 233 Spring Street, New York, NY 10013. Tel: 800-777-4643; Tel: 212-460-1500; Fax: 212-348-4505; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: National Science Foundation (NSF); Institute of Education Sciences (ED)
Authoring Institution: N/A
IES Funded: Yes
Grant or Contract Numbers: DRL0814571; R305H050179