A controversy has arisen concerning the relative merits of conceptually-oriented teaching versus calculation-centered teaching. Marks (1989) maintains that concepts are far more important than computations, and that they can be successfully taught without the related computations. In contrast, Khamis (1989) claims that students cannot truly understand statistical information until they have had experience doing calculations by hand. Both authors present persuasive arguments, but no empirical evidence to support their conclusions. The present paper outlines a study which aimed to fill this gap. First, however, we try to place the controversy into the context of wider cognitive issues.
- Prof Dev