Why do Americans have such trouble with fractions—and what can be done?

Singapore Maths Tuition

Fractions indeed are challenging for kids from ages 7-12. Probably the mental picture of a pie/pizza helps. Also, making fractions to the same denominator is a technique that once mastered will make addition/subtraction of fractions much easier.

Source: Scientific American

Many children never master fractions. When asked whether 12/13 + 7/8 was closest to 1, 2, 19, or 21, only 24% of a nationally representative sample of more than 20,000 US 8th graders answered correctly. This test was given almost 40 years ago, which gave Hugo Lortie-Forgues and me hope that the work of innumerable teachers, mathematics coaches, researchers, and government commissions had made a positive difference. Our hopes were dashed by the data, though; we found that in all of those years, accuracy on the same problem improved only from 24% to 27% correct.

Such difficulties are not limited to fraction estimation problems nor do they end in…

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