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Abstract or Concrete Examples in Learning Mathematics? A Replication and Elaboration of Kaminski, Sloutsky, and Heckler’s Study

Dirk De Bock, Johan Deprez, Wim Van Dooren, Michel Roelens, and Lieven Verschaffel 

March 2011, Volume 42, Issue 2, Page 109

Abstract:
Kaminski, Sloutsky, and Heckler (2008a) published in Science a study on “The advantage of abstract examples in learning math,” in which they claim that students may benefit more from learning mathematics through a single abstract, symbolic representation than from multiple concrete examples. This publication elicited both enthusiastic and critical comments by mathematicians, mathematics educators, and policymakers worldwide. The current empirical study involves a partial replication—but also an important validation and extension—of this widely noticed study.