Algebra has a unique position in mathematics as it is found in all other areas of mathematics. In order for students to succeed in mathematics, algebraic knowing is a facilitator. Both national and international studies show that Swedish students’ algebraic knowing has dropped. Students are used to firstly start counting by numbers before they are introduced to reasoning with symbols. However, many researchers argue that students who have become used to thinking in arithmetical terms have difficulties understanding generalizations. Conceptions of math teaching have changed nationally and internationally. From focus on forms of counting, to focus including problem solving ability and ability for reasoning. Classroom discussion and assignments that to a greater extent allow students to train such abilities are important in order for students to develop in line with intentions in contemporary curricul. But how should this be done?

In the project, four learning studies have been carried out in grades 1, 5, 7 and in an upper secondary vocational and theoretical programme. The issue was to investigate and analyse what aspects in teaching that enhance students’ knowledge formation, what characterizes an evolving algebraic reasoning, and how to assess this ability.

In a learning study you choose an object of learning, that is a specified ability the teacher has experienced as difficult for students to learn and/or that (s)he has found difficult to teach. Focus for this study is the ability to reason algebraically.

The study will use Stockholm Teaching & Learning Studies (STLS) as the research environment. STLS is a platform for collaboration between school facilitators in Stockholm County and Stockholm University.

Some of the results presented will be assignments aiming at stimulating the development of algebraic reasoning. This part of the result can immediately be used by teachers for designing teaching and will presumedly contribute to equity in relation to the assessment of students’ knowing.