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Students' Probabilistic Thinking in Instruction

Graham A. Jones, Cynthia W. Langrall, Carol A. Thornton, A. Timothy Mogill 

November 1999, Volume 30, Issue 5, Page 487

In this study we evaluated the thinking of 3rd-grade students in relation to an instructional program in probability. The instructional program was informed by a   research-based framework that included a description of students' probabilistic thinking. Both an early- and a delayed-instruction group participated in the program. Qualitative evidence from 4 target students revealed that overcoming a misconception in sample space, applying both part-part and part-whole reasoning, and using invented language to describe probabilities were key patterns in producing growth in probabilistic thinking. Moreover, 51% of the students exhibited the latter 2 learning patterns by the end of instruction, and both groups displayed significant growth in probabilistic thinking following the intervention.

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