Baroody and Gannon (1984) proposed that children's understanding of additive commutativity progresses through several levels of understanding based on a unary view of addition (change meaning) before developing a "true" level of understanding based on a binary conception (part-whole meaning). Resnick (1992) implied that children have both a unary and a binary conception of additive commutativity from the earliest stages of development. Fifty-three 5- and 6-year-old (M = 6-0) kindergartners' unary and binary understanding of additive commutativity was investigated using performance on tasks involving change-add-to and part-part-whole word problems, respectively. The data were inconsistent with the predictions of both models and suggest three alternate theoretical explanations. Moreover, the data indicate that success on a task involving change-add-to problems may be a more rigorous test of understanding of additive commutativity than that involving part-part-whole problems.
- Early childhood
- Mathematics education
- Word problems
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Developmental and Educational Psychology