Solving algebra word problems : solution strategies Thai students used and potential connections with teachers' instructional strategies Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/6h440w63v

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  • The main purpose of this study was to investigate and describe strategies that Thai ninth grade students use to solve algebra word problems. The second purpose of this study was to investigate teachers' instruction during word problem solving lessons. Three mathematics teachers and one of each of their classes participated in this study. Word problems were developed for the pretest, the posttest, and the interview from prior research and Thai Standards. The classroom teaching of the three teachers of the 118 participating students was observed during word problem instruction. Six students from each teacher's class were asked to participate in the interview sessions to solve five word problems following instruction. The results show that overall Thai ninth grade students in this study were somewhat successful at solving word problems. However, they were less successful at solving problems involving two unknown variables requiring different representations. Thai ninth grade students used either algebraic strategies or non-algebraic strategies to solve word problems. Two sub-strategies in the algebraic strategies were found: equations based on comprehensive representations and equations based on poor representations. Five sub-strategies in the non-algebraic strategies were found: verbal or written arithmetic, a drawing or graph, trial and error, a part-and-whole strategy, and a comparison strategy. The results indicate that unsuccessful problem solvers had difficulty translating and representing problem situations into equations by using variables and symbols. Additionally, few students developed a repertoire of strategies to solve the word problems. The results from the observation indicated that the three teachers had different styles in teaching students to solve word problems. Two teachers used direct instruction with little students' participation. The third teacher used a less directed role and allowed her students to actively participate by asking and answering questions, and participating in collaborative groups. Potential connection between teaching and learning were evidenced by students' performance in a class taught by a teacher who used a less directive role improved much more than students' performance in a class taught by a teacher who used a direct instruction exclusively.
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