What does conceptual understanding mean to researchers?

Filling the pail

In yesterday’s post, I implied that research demonstrating that certain practices are associated with improvements in ‘conceptual knowledge’ should be read cautiously. I suggested:

“If you have the time, try reading some of the ‘productive failure’ literature. This often assesses ‘conceptual knowledge’ and yet the questions that are used to assess it will probably surprise you – they often look for all the world like recall of relatively simple declarative knowledge. This is why I am more impressed with evidence of transfer…”

Productive failure is on my radar as part of my PhD research and so I have been reading the relevant papers.

What I didn’t know at the time of writing is that this issue has already been investigated in a far more comprehensive way by Crooks and Alibali. Their article is not paywalled and is worth a read. Thanks to the helper elves who alerted me.

Crooks…

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