There is a general consensus that both conceptual and procedural knowledge are essential for students’ mathematical development. A common argument is that differences in mathematical performance are caused by differences in conceptual and procedural knowledge. Therefore, it is important to investigate to what extent such differences in conceptual and procedural knowledge are empirically evident at the level of individual students. Accordingly, the aim of the present study is to describe individual differences in conceptual and procedural knowledge using the example of fractions and to analyze their relationship to the covariates grade level, school type, school, class, gender, and general cognitive abilities. Data from 377 students in grades 8 and 9 from 18 classes at four schools in Germany was examined. A hierarchical cluster analysis showed five clusters which reflected individual differences in conceptual and procedural knowledge. The clusters were characterized by (a) equal strengths in conceptual and procedural knowledge, (b) relative strengths in procedural knowledge compared to conceptual knowledge, (c) relative weaknesses in procedural knowledge compared to conceptual knowledge. Cluster membership was not related to gender or grade level, whereas the school type, school, and grade level were relevant for cluster membership. A stronger correlation between conceptual knowledge and general cognitive abilities could only be confirmed to a limited extent.
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Article Type: Research Article
INT ELECT J MATH ED, 2021, Volume 16, Issue 1, Article No: em0615
Publication date: 28 Nov 2020
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