NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ834746
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2005-May
Pages: 22
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 29
ISSN: ISSN-1524-8372
Knowledge Change as a Function of Mathematics Experience: All Contexts Are Not Created Equal
McNeil, Nicole M.; Alibali, Martha W.
Journal of Cognition and Development, v6 n2 p285-306 May 2005
This study investigated how understanding of the equal sign changes as a function of experience in mathematics and variations in context. Students with different levels of mathematics experience (elementary school, seventh grade, undergraduate, and graduate) were randomly assigned to view the equal sign in one of three contexts: (a) equal sign alone, =; (b) typical addition problem, 4 + 8 + 5 + 4 = __; or (c) equivalence problem, 4 + 8 + 5 = 4 + __. Students were asked to define the equal sign and to rate six fictitious students' definitions of the equal sign. Elementary school students interpreted the equal sign as an operational symbol meaning "the answer" or "the total" in all contexts, whereas undergraduate and graduate students viewed it as a relational symbol of equivalence in all contexts. Seventh-grade students interpreted the equal sign as an operational symbol in the alone and addition contexts but as a relational symbol of equivalence in the equivalence context. Results highlight that the shape of knowledge change depends on the context in which the knowledge is elicited. Furthermore, the context may influence whether newly emerging ideas are activated. (Contains 4 figures and 2 tables.)
Psychology Press. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Education; Grade 7; Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Wisconsin