The “Why” and “How” of Mathematics Learning

Compiled by Kaveh Farrokh (Ph.D.), Counsellor & Learning Specialist at Langara College Counselling Department.


Mevarech (1991) found that students in elementary mathematics classes who focused on the why and how learning mathematics tended to achieve higher marks than students who did not engage in such strategies. Regression data in the Mevarech study found that 98% of these students’ variance in achievement was explained by giving help and receiving help. It remains unclear whether the results of the Mevarech study can be extrapolated to courses teaching higher level mathematics such as advanced algebra, calculus, linear algebra and differential equations.


Mevarech, Z.M. (1991). Learning mathematics in different mastery environments. Journal of Educational Research, Vol. 84 (no.4), pp. 225-231.

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