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ERIC Number: EJ1157274
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017
Pages: 4
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0022-2194
Why Learning Common Fractions Is Uncommonly Difficult: Unique Challenges Faced by Students with Mathematical Disabilities
Berch, Daniel B.
Journal of Learning Disabilities, v50 n6 p651-654 Nov-Dec 2017
In this commentary, I examine some of the distinctive, foundational difficulties in learning fractions and other types of rational numbers encountered by students with a mathematical learning disability and how these differ from the struggles experienced by students classified as low achieving in math. I discuss evidence indicating that students with math disabilities exhibit a significant delay or deficit in the numerical transcoding of decimal fractions, and I further maintain that they may face unique challenges in developing the ability to effectively translate between different types of fractions and other rational number notational formats--what I call "conceptual transcoding." I also argue that characterizing this level of comprehensive understanding of rational numbers as "rational number" sense is irrational, as it misrepresents this flexible and adaptive collection of skills as a biologically based percept rather than a convergence of higher-order competencies that require intensive, formal instruction.
SAGE Publications and Hammill Institute on Disabilities. 2455 Teller Road, Thousand Oaks, CA 91320. Tel: 800-818-7243; Tel: 805-499-9774; Fax: 800-583-2665; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A