### Abstract

Mathematical understanding continues to be one of the major goals of mathematics education. However, what is meant by “mathematical understanding” is underspecified. How can we operationalize the idea of mathematical understanding in research? In this article, I propose particular specifications of the terms mathematical concept and mathematical conception so that they may serve as useful constructs for mathematics education research. I discuss the theoretical basis of the constructs, and I examine the usefulness of these constructs in research and instruction, challenges involved in their use, and ideas derived from our experience using them in research projects. Finally, I provide several examples of articulated mathematical concepts.

Original language | English (US) |
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Pages (from-to) | 117-137 |

Number of pages | 21 |

Journal | Educational Studies in Mathematics |

Volume | 94 |

Issue number | 2 |

DOIs | |

State | Published - Feb 1 2017 |

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### Keywords

- Instructional goals
- Mathematical concept
- Mathematical conception
- Mathematical understanding
- Mathematics learning

### ASJC Scopus subject areas

- Mathematics(all)
- Education