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ERIC Number: EJ810948
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Sep
Pages: 13
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 64
ISSN: ISSN-0012-1649
Development of Proportional Reasoning: Where Young Children Go Wrong
Boyer, Ty W.; Levine, Susan C.; Huttenlocher, Janellen
Developmental Psychology, v44 n5 p1478-1490 Sep 2008
Previous studies have found that children have difficulty solving proportional reasoning problems involving discrete units until 10 to 12 years of age, but can solve parallel problems involving continuous quantities by 6 years of age. The present studies examine where children go wrong in processing proportions that involve discrete quantities. A computerized proportional equivalence choice task was administered to kindergartners through 4th-graders in Study 1, and to 1st- and 3rd-graders in Study 2. Both studies involved 4 between-subjects conditions that were formed by pairing continuous and discrete target proportions with continuous and discrete choice alternatives. In Study 1, target and choice alternatives were presented simultaneously; in Study 2, target and choice alternatives were presented sequentially. In both studies, children performed significantly worse when both the target and choice alternatives were represented with discrete quantities than when either or both of the proportions involved continuous quantities. Taken together, these findings indicate that children go astray on proportional reasoning problems involving discrete units only when a numerical match is possible, suggesting that their difficulty is due to an overextension of numerical equivalence concepts to proportional equivalence problems. (Contains 2 figures, 4 tables, and 2 footnotes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Grade 1; Grade 2; Grade 3; Grade 4; Kindergarten
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Illinois
IES Cited: ED512043