CONTEMPORARY MATHEMATICS AND SCIENCE EDUCATION
Conceptual and Procedural Knowledge of Students of Nepal in Algebra: A Mixed Method Study

Netra Kumar Manandhar 1 * , Binod Prasad Pant 1, Shiva Datta Dawadi 2

Contemporary Mathematics and Science Education, Volume 3, Issue 1, Article No: ep22005

https://doi.org/10.30935/conmaths/11723

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Abstract

Mathematical knowledge has been defined in several ways in the literature of mathematics education. Procedural knowledge (PK) and conceptual knowledge (CK) or both types of knowledge are the emphasis of knowledge construction. This is a research-based paper extracted from a dissertation of MEd in mathematics education of the first author under the supervision of the remaining two authors. In this context, this explanatory mixed method research study was carried out to find students’ level of PK and CK in algebra and explore why students develop such knowledge. In the quantitative part, the survey was conducted among 360 students of grade eight of 9 public schools of Kathmandu Metropolitan City. The study revealed that students have a lower level of CK (x̅ =8.56) but a higher level of PK (y̅ =14.05) out of 20 and a moderate positive correlation (r=+0.559, p<0.05) between PK and CK. The regression equation was: CK=3.716+0.345(PK). Similarly, PK was dependent, but CK was independent upon the gender of the respondents. In the qualitative part, a two-phase interview was conducted with six participants followed by a group discussion with four mathematics teachers teaching at the same level. This phase concluded that students are weak in reasoning, critical thinking, representational knowledge and comparing algebraic quantities. The reason is because students seemed to be forced/encouraged to develop procedural fluency because of teachers’ methods of teaching which oftentimes neglect the progressive pedagogical approaches. The research is useful for everyone who is working on educational reform to emphasize meaningful learning.

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