Simplifying structurally comparable expressions.
Humbert, Michael P.
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SubjectMathematics -- Study and teaching (Higher).; College students -- Education.; Algebra -- Study and teaching.; Arithmetic -- Study and teaching.
This study explores the connection between student understanding of arithmetic and algebra through the evaluation of numeric expressions and the simplification of structurally comparable algebraic expressions. It is hypothesized that non-major college mathematics students are more likely to correctly simplify an algebraic expression than to correctly evaluate a numeric expression of comparable structure. One hundred students from four non major mathematics courses were given a six-problem assessment to test this hypothesis. The results suggest that students are more successful at evaluating numeric expressions than algebraic expressions. Possible correlations between the two subject areas are discussed in the findings.