Is There a Gap or Congruency Effect? A Cross-Sectional Study in Students’ Fraction Comparison

  • Juan Manuel González-Forte Departamento de Innovación y Formación Didáctica, Facultad de Educación, Universidad de Alicante, Calle Aeroplano, s/n. 03690 San Vicente del Raspeig, Spain https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4020-7869
  • Ceneida Fernández Departamento de Innovación y Formación Didáctica, Facultad de Educación, Universidad de Alicante, Calle Aeroplano, s/n. 03690 San Vicente del Raspeig, Spain https://orcid.org/0000-0002-4791-9247
  • Wim Van Dooren Centre for Instructional Psychology and Technology, University of Leuven, Dekenstraat, 2, 3000 Leuven, Belgium https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5002-4340
Keywords: Rational numbers, natural number bias, fraction comparison, gap thinking

Abstract

Many studies have addressed the natural number bias in fraction comparison, focusing on the role of congruency. However, the congruency effect has been observed to operate in the opposite direction, suggesting that a deeper explanation must underlie students’ different reasoning. We extend previous research by examining students’ reasoning and by studying the effect of a gap condition in students’ answers. A cross-sectional study was conducted on 438 students from 5th to 10th grade. Results showed that the gap effect could explain differences between congruent and incongruent items. Moreover, students’ use of gap thinking decreased towards the end of Secondary Education.

Published
2020-06-24