The Use of Alternative Algorithms in Whole Number Computation
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Pedagogical reform in Australia over the last few decades has resulted in a reduced emphasis on the teaching of computational algorithms and a diversity of alternative mechanisms to teach students whole number computations. The effect of these changes upon student recording of whole number computations has had little empirical investigation. As reported in this paper, Years 4 to 7 students across three schools were tested for their ability to carry out written computations. A range of recording methods were documented, many of which seemed to be adaptations of mental methods of computation. Students who used alternative methods tended to be less successful than students who used traditional algorithms. The results suggest there is merit in conducting further research into the effects of using alternative written computational methods upon students' learning of mathematics.
International Journal for Mathematics Teaching and Learning
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Mathematics and Numeracy Curriculum and Pedagogy