TME(2023) Vol 4, No. 1, pp 23-54

“It’s Not Just the Language”: Grade 4 Pupils’ Understanding of Fractions

Jenny Lou A. BERMEJO*^ and Catherine P. VISTRO-YU*

*Ateneo de Manila University

^University of Santo Tomas

Published in The Mathematician Educator, 2023, Vol 4, No. 1, pp 23-54.


Learning fractions in elementary school mathematics is crucial for the mathematical knowledge of the learners. Failure to grasp these constructs causes misconceptions and a limited understanding of their applications. This study investigated and analyzed fourth-grade students’ concepts of fractions based on their responses to the modified TIMSS-released items and interviews. The participants were 36 pupils of a public school in Cainta, Rizal, Philippines during the SY 2016- 2017. These students went through three years of primary school using the mandated Mother Tongue Based Multilingual Education (MTB-MLE). The results showed that the language of the test is not a factor in the students’ performance. Furthermore, these students have a limited construct of fractions, and have difficulties with order relations of fractions, and in identifying numbers between whole numbers, among others. Recommendations are given to improve the curriculum and instruction of fractions in primary school mathematics.

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