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A comparison of three approaches to problem solving in grades six and seven

This study was undertaken to compare the effectiveness of two problem-solving strategies at the grade six and seven levels. Both strategies were designed to aid students in associating the verbal statement of a problem with its corresponding
mathematical equation. One approach, the Translation Method, stressed literal, carefully structured translation of word problems, while the second, the Inductive Method, encouraged students to create their own problems, using mathematical
equations given by the teacher. A control group practiced word problems without any instructional guidance.
Forty-eight students from the sixth and seventh grades of a private elementary
school in Vancouver, British Columbia were combined and assigned to the three treatment groups on the basis of their performance on a pretest in translation. For a period of four school days, all subjects used materials prepared by the investigator.
Two criterion measures were used. Posttest One was composed of traditional
word problems requiring only one mathematical operation for the correct solution. Posttest Two was constructed with novel or challenging word problems requiring more than one operation for the correct solution. Each test contained eight items and was designed for one forty-minute period. Scores of the tests were analyzed using multivariate analysis of variance for the two dependent measures. The three factors considered were Treatment, Sex, and Grade, and a simple main effects analysis was employed to examine male-female differences within each treatment level.
Statistical comparisons among the three groups offered no evidence of superiority
for one approach over another. In addition, no interaction was found between treatment and sex. Boys were found to be significantly superior to girls in performance
on the posttests. Further analysis indicated that Posttest One scores for the Translation Group students differed significantly between boys and girls, with the girls' performance particularly weak for this measure.
Subjective observation revealed differences in attitude. Students found the Translation Method burdensome. Students in the Inductive Group enjoyed that approach,
and students in the Control Group seemed interested in the practice sequence of word problems. / Education, Faculty of / Graduate
Date January 1978
CreatorsMinkowitz, Goldie
Source SetsUniversity of British Columbia
Detected LanguageEnglish
TypeText, Thesis/Dissertation
RightsFor non-commercial purposes only, such as research, private study and education. Additional conditions apply, see Terms of Use

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