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Prospective elementary teachers' division of fractions understanding: A mixed methods study

Redmond, Adrienne
Scope and Method of Study:
This sequential explanatory mixed methods study explored 34 prospective elementary teachers understanding of division of fractions at the beginning and end of their final mathematics methods course. Participants' beliefs on the teaching and learning of division with fractions were also explored.
Findings and Conclusions:
At the beginning of the course, the participants had a procedural and oftentimes weak to moderate understanding of division of fractions. Very few participants were able to demonstrate a good understanding of fractions division. However, at the conclusion of the course, participants significantly improved their computational understanding and overall understanding of fraction division. They did not significantly show an increase in an understanding of contextual problems at the conclusion of the course. Participants' tended to have low to neutral confidence in their solutions to division with fractions prior to taking the course, but made significant gains in confidence by the end of the semester. However, there were no significant increases in attitudes (confidence to learn, confidence to teach, anxiety to learn, anxiety to teach, and personal teaching efficacy) about teaching and learning division with fractions.