Students' understanding of fractions within a reform based instructional program : an action research analysis
Biesenthal, Melanie Jenny
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Students have a difficult time understanding the concepts behind fraction procedures. The purpose of this study was to determine which teaching method, traditional or reform, helped students to develop a conceptual understanding of fractions as well as to examine the specific aspects of the reform teaching method that fostered this understanding. A pre-test and post-test were administered to two grade 6 classes. The tests were divided into two sections: Computations and Word Problems and were marked and coded to evaluate conceptual understanding. Similar results were found between both groups in computation skills. The results in the problem solving post tests were quite different between the two groups. The results revealed that the students in the reform teaching class developed more flexible ways to problem solve, were able to apply their own reasoning to solve computation questions, effectively used manipulatives to further their understanding and strengthened their ability to reason mathematically. The students in the traditional classroom, however, relied on faulty procedures to solve problems and the focus on algorithms hindered their problem solving ability. This study indicated that there were many benefits to the students that learned in the reform classroom and further research in this area would be beneficial.
- Retrospective theses