Preservice Elementary Teachers’ Proficiency in Solving Word Problems versus Computational Problems
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AuthorMorgan, Elaine M.
KeywordPreservice Elementary Teachers
MetadataShow full item record
AbstractThe purpose of this study was to determine if preservice elementary teachers are able to solve word problems as proficiently as they can perform related computational problems on a word problem inventory. The subjects were 44 preservice elementary teachers at SUNY College at Brockport, Brockport, NY. They were enrolled in a course titled Methods in the Teaching of Elementary School Mathematics. A word problem inventory was created for this study by selecting word problems from the Addison-Wesley Mathematics series for grades 4 to 8. The inventory consisted of two parts, word problems on part 1 and computations on part 2. For the purpose of analysis, a dependent t-test was used to determine if there was a significant difference between the mean mathematics scores on part 2 computational problems and part 1 word problems. The amount of difference between the mean scores that was greater than the average of the related standard deviations will be the criteria which will determine if the results are educationally important. The coefficient of correlation was used to determine the degree to which computational proficiency explained word problem proficiency. The difference between the mean performance on computational problems and word problems was statistically significant. The mean scores that were obtained exceeded the criteria for educational importance. Thus, these results were educationally important. Only 50% of the variation in word problem test scores was explained by computational problem test scores. The other 50% of the variation in word problem solving ability remained unexplained.
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