# The Role of Comparison in Mathematics Learning

- Shanta Hattikudur,
*University of Wisconsin - Madison*
- Martha Alibali,
*University of Wisconsin - Madison*

## Abstract

To better understand how comparison can be effectively used in
mathematics instruction, we reviewed research in psychology and education, with
the aim of identifying types of comparison that take place in mathematics
learning, and considering the effects of comparison on procedural and conceptual
understanding. We identified three types of comparison that are commonly utilized
in mathematics instruction and learning: (1) problem-to-problem comparisons, (2)
step-to-step comparisons, and (3) item-to-abstraction comparisons. Of these three
types, only the effects of problem-to-problem comparisons on learning have been
well documented. This paper therefore highlights the need for further research to
elucidate the unique contributions of different types of comparison in
mathematics learning.

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