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A reflection on Star and Seifert’s operationalisation of flexibility in equation solving

Hatisaru, V ORCID: 0000-0003-2101-1764 2021 , 'A reflection on Star and Seifert’s operationalisation of flexibility in equation solving' , For the Learning of Mathematics, vol. 42, no. 2 , pp. 37-44 .

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Abstract

My interest in flexibility in equation solving comes from aresearch agenda whose aim is the study of flexibility in theteaching and learning of algebra. Several researchers haveproposed operationalisations. One of the most relevant ofthese is the one proposed by Star and Seifert (2006). In thisoperational definition, flexibility is knowing multiple solution procedures to a problem and having the capacity togenerate new and more efficient procedures to solve it. Eventhough this definition has had an impact on the research onflexibility (e.g., Xu et al., 2017), there are calls for a morecomprehensive account (e.g., Ionescu, 2012) given flexibility’s contribution to efficient problem solving.Here I offer a reflection about flexibility in equation solving that extends the definition by Star and Seifert. To thisend, I offer examples of equation solving that suggest thatthere is a need for another property in the definition, todeepen both the investigation of students’ flexibility in equation solving and its fostering in teaching. I add ‘connections’because when performing transformational activities, students make a number of procedural connections.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Hatisaru, V
Keywords: connections, flexibility in equation solving, algebra teaching and learning
Journal or Publication Title: For the Learning of Mathematics
Publisher: FLM Publishing Association, New Westminster, BC
ISSN: 0228-0671
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