Labeling Common and Uncommon Fractions Across Notation and Education

AbstractA surge of recent research on fraction representation has provided substantial insight into how people think about proportional information in written, symbolic form and in visual, non-symbolic form. However, how fractions and decimals are verbally labeled is an often-overlooked aspect of proportion representation. In the current study, we investigated how adults label fractions and decimals (Study 1) and how children in a range of grades label fractions (Study 2), using a novel web-based platform for accessing student data from real classrooms (ASSISTments). In both studies, children and adults showed remarkable consistency in the kinds of labels they used. However, there were some differences in label preferences across notation and grade-level. Although the relations between fraction labeling and fraction ability remain unclear, these studies provide a first look at the kinds of labels that people typically use and provide some initial hypotheses for future research into symbolic representations of proportion.

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