Releasing the conceptual spring to construct multiplicative reasoning
Wilkins, Jesse L. M.
MetadataShow full item record
Constructing multiplicative reasoning is critical for students' learning of mathematics, particularly throughout the middle grades and beyond. Tzur, Xin, Si, Kenney, and Guebert [American Educational Research Association, ERIC No. ED510991, (2010)] conclude that an assimilatory composite unit is a conceptual spring to multiplicative reasoning. This study examines patterns in the percentages of students who construct multiplicative reasoning across the middle grades based on their fluency in operating with composite units. Multinomial logistic regression models indicate that students' rate of constructing an assimilatory composite unit but not multiplicative reasoning in sixth and seventh grades is significantly greater than that in eighth and ninth grades. Furthermore, the proportion of students who have constructed multiplicative reasoning in sixth and seventh grades is significantly less than the proportion of those who have constructed multiplicative reasoning in eighth and ninth grades. One implication of this is the quantitative verification of Tzur, Xin, Si, Kenney, and Guebert's (2010) conceptual spring. That is, students who construct assimilatory composite units early in the middle grades are likely to construct multiplicative reasoning; students who do not construct assimilatory composite units early in the middle grades likely do not construct multiplicative reasoning in the middle grades.