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Fraction Comparison Strategies in Skilled Adults: Evidence From Eye Movements

Thu, April 16, 12:00 to 1:30pm, Sheraton, Floor: Fourth Level, Chicago VI&VII


Working with fractions is one of the most challenging topics of the mathematics curriculum. Many students struggle particularly with considering a fraction holistically as one number rather than componentially as two whole numbers (namely the numerator and the denominator). To investigate whether eye tracking allows distinguishing componential from holistic fraction comparison strategies, we analysed fixation times and gaze paths of mathematically skilled adults. All measures hinted in the direction that the participants used holistic comparison strategies for fraction pairs that had no common components, and componential strategies for fraction pairs that did have common components. We conclude that it could be valuable to use eye tracking with school students to identify their fraction comparison strategies.