The effect of year-long instruction in mathematical problem solving on middle-school students' attitudes, beliefs, and abilities
Journal of Experimental Education
Three classes of middle-school students who received 1 year of problem-solving instruction were compared with 3 classes of students who were taught mathematics in a more traditional manner. At the end of the school year, all the students completed a questionnaire that explored their mathematical beliefs. In addition, 3 students of varying ability levels per class were interviewed and asked to solve 4 nonroutine problems. Compared with the students who had received traditional mathematics instruction, the students who had received problem-solving instruction displayed greater perseverance in solving problems, more positive attitudes about the usefulness of mathematics, and more sophisticated definitions of mathematical understanding. A limitation of the problem-solving instruction is that the students tended to equate problem solving with the problem-solving skills they had learned, seeing them as “rules” to solve all problems. The implications of these findings for the reform of mathematics instruction are discussed.
Higgins, Karen M., "The effect of year-long instruction in mathematical problem solving on middle-school students' attitudes, beliefs, and abilities" (1997). Faculty Bibliography. 2169.