I.S.P.A./Instituto Superior de Psicologia Aplicada
European Journal of Psychology of Education vol:27 issue:3 pages:421-438
This study investigates the development of proportional and additive methods along primary and secondary school. In particular, it simultaneously investigates the use of additive methods in proportional word problems and the use of proportional methods in additive word problems. We have also studied the role played by integer and non-integer relationships between the given numbers and the nature of quantities (discrete or continuous) in the development of these phenomena. A test consisting of additive and proportional missing-value word problems was solved by 755 primary and secondary school students (from fourth to tenth grade). The findings indicate that the use of additive methods in proportional situations increased during primary school and decreased during secondary school, whereas the use of proportional methods in additive situations increased along primary and secondary school. Moreover, the presence or absence of integer ratios strongly affects this behavior, but the nature of quantities only has a small influence on the use of proportional methods.