Main Article Content
In the Zambian school curriculum the concept of fractions is introduced to primary school pupils in Grade 5. The topic is also taught to Grades 6 and 7 pupils. The pupils have exhibited errors and misconceptions when solving classroom exercises and answering examination questions related to this concept. They find it difficult to even apply knowledge of fractions to situations outside the classroom. The aforementioned challenges faced by the pupils motivated this study on fractions. Thus, the purpose of the current study is to identify difficulties that Zambian primary school pupils encounter when learning fractions. A survey of 10 primary schools was conducted in Kapiri Mposhi district in Central province of Zambia with data collected from 100 male and female Grade 5 pupils. As a data collection tool a test was designed to assess main components of fraction knowledge with focus on conceptual and procedural knowledge and how these can be distinguished. Results revealed numerous difficulties encountered by pupils largely due to inadequate conceptual understanding of many aspects of fractions. Generally it was revealed that pupils had difficulties with both procedural and conceptual knowledge although the difficulties were mostly emanating from insufficient conceptual understanding of the topic.