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ERIC Number: EJ859706
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Nov
Pages: 3
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 2
ISSN: ISSN-0025-5785
Links between Algebra and Arithmetic
Steel, Wayne
Mathematics Teaching Incorporating Micromath, n211 p14-16 Nov 2008
General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) mathematics assessment previously included a piece of coursework that required learners to develop a general equation to describe the relationship between two groups of numbers on a number grid. In this author's experience, it became clear that Year 10 students often struggled to form a link between arithmetic patterns and algebraic generalities. Also, his work with sixth-form students highlighted situations where they were uncomfortable with manipulating algebraic expressions without changing the variables to x and y, which suggested that even these quite capable mathematicians saw algebra as a distinct process separate from other areas of mathematics. In this article, the author investigates a class of 20 Year 10 students of average ability on two aspects of their use of algebra--as a description of a general arithmetic connection/progression and as a valid method of proof that a connection exists--using the process known as the "clinical interview", allowing him to gain as much information as possible about each student's understanding of the concepts involved. (Contains 3 figures.)
Association of Teachers of Mathematics. Unit 7 Prime Industrial Park, Shaftesbury Street, Derby, DE23 8YB, UK. Tel: +44-1332-346599; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Grade 10; Secondary Education
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom