Investigating the Variety and Usualness of Correct Solution Procedures of Mathematical Word Problems
Keywords:Formative assessment, inquiry based mathematics education, open approach to mathematics, primary school teachers, solving strategies, word problems
The contribution focuses on issues related to the implementation of formative assessment methods into inquiry based teaching, by means of issues related to solving twelve multiple-step arithmetic word problems based on operations with natural and rational numbers. These word problems have multiple correct solution procedures and the presented qualitative exploratory empirical study investigates how varied and how usual might be correct solution procedures provided by diverse groups of solvers – future primary school teachers attending diverse university mathematics courses of diverse forms and/or time extent. According to written data collected from 149 solvers, six notions are introduced in the paper: majority, minority and even solution procedures, and majority, minority and mixed solvers. Issues regarding minority solvers are recognized as an important element for implementing formative assessment methods. All the six notions are illustrated in the paper by samples of solution procedures and diagrams of relative frequency. Implications are given for formative assessment within any kind of education involving multiple-step word problems, regardless of the extent of implemented inquiry.
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