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ERIC Number: EJ861179
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Aug
Pages: 16
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0022-0663
Compared with What? The Effects of Different Comparisons on Conceptual Knowledge and Procedural Flexibility for Equation Solving
Rittle-Johnson, Bethany; Star, Jon R.
Journal of Educational Psychology, v101 n3 p529-544 Aug 2009
Researchers in both cognitive science and mathematics education emphasize the importance of comparison for learning and transfer. However, surprisingly little is known about the advantages and disadvantages of what types of things are being compared. In this experimental study, 162 seventh- and eighth-grade students learned to solve equations (a) by comparing equivalent problems solved with the same solution method, (b) by comparing different problem types solved with the same solution method, or (c) by comparing different solution methods to the same problem. Students' conceptual knowledge and procedural flexibility were best supported by comparing solution methods and to a lesser extent by comparing problem types. The benefits of comparison are augmented when examples differ on relevant features, and contrasting methods may be particularly useful in mathematics learning. (Contains 3 figures, 8 tables, and 1 footnote.)
American Psychological Association. Journals Department, 750 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20002-4242. Tel: 800-374-2721; Tel: 202-336-5510; Fax: 202-336-5502; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Grade 7; Grade 8; Middle Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
IES Funded: Yes
Grant or Contract Numbers: R305H050179
What Works Clearinghouse Reviewed: Meets Evidence Standards without Reservations
IES Cited: ED532215