Math Word Problem Solving

Some teachers ignore or struggle to apply their real-world knowledge when solving word problems, just like students (Verschaffel, De Corte, & Borghart, 1997).During instruction, teachers often try to help students "strip away the stuff we don’t really need" (Chapman, 2006, p.Instead of thinking through the context of the word problem to understand it, many students simply seek a simple application of arithmetic needed to produce an answer, whether it makes sense or not.

Their research and subsequent studies have shown that the vast majority of students – sometimes more than 90 percent – will calculate and produce answers for the even-numbered items just as they do for the odd-numbered items, without any additional reasoning about real-world considerations. On mathematics as sense-making: An informal attack on the unfortunate divorce of formal and informal mathematics.

Giving students a general warning, such as "these problems are not as easy as they look," did not significantly help students.

Word problems are described as "verbal descriptions of problem situations wherein one or more questions are raised the answer to which can be obtained by the application of mathematical operations to numerical data available in the problem statement" (Verschaffel, Greer, & De Corte, 2000).

Solving word problems involves: Solving word problems is not considered to be the same as mathematical modeling.

Traditional math textbooks reinforce this belief by placing word problems at the end of practice sets.

This belief or assumption has been shown to be false, at least under some conditions. Dav Verstehen von Textaufgaben aus phychologischer Sicht.

These differences are relative, however, depending on the abilities of the student and the nature of the solution required to answer the problem.

Students' primary difficulty in solving word problems is attributed to their "suspension of sense-making" (Schoenfeld, 1991; Verschaffel, Greer, & De Corte).

219) and reduce the problem to the numbers and keywords or phrases that indicate operations or relations.

This dismissal of the real-world aspects of word problems can contribute to students' suspension of sense-making and their compulsion to calculate.


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