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The Relationship Between Middle School Students' Fraction Understanding and Profiles of Algebraic Thinking

Sat, April 18, 10:35am to 12:05pm, Virtual Room


Fraction knowledge and algebraic skill are closely linked and algebra is a gatekeeper for advanced courses (Booth & Newton, 2012; Brown & Quinn, 2007). We examine individual differences in middle school students’ (N=350) algebra understandings (equivalence, equation-solving, word-problems, encoding of equations) at the start and end of a school year (SOY/EOY). LPA reveals that, at SOY, most students (50%) demonstrate limited knowledge and a small proportion (14%) demonstrate high knowledge overall. However, a sizable group (36.3%) demonstrates mixed understandings with relatively high scores on equivalence and equation-solving but low performance on word problems and encoding. We also assess the role that fraction understandings (magnitude, word problems, computations, broad concepts) plays in transitions of algebra understanding over the school year.