Meredith, Krystal B. (2009-05). Can Problem Solving Affect the Understanding of Rational Numbers in the Middle School Setting?. Master's Thesis. Thesis uri icon


  • In this study, problem solving provided deeper meaning and understanding
    through the implementation of a structured problem solving strategy with the teaching of
    rational numbers. This action-research study was designed as a quasi-experimental
    model with a control closely matched to an experimental group using similar
    demographics and number of economically disadvantaged students. In comparison to the
    control group, the experimental group received their instruction in rational numbers with
    the addition of a structured problem solving strategy, and a pre/posttest on problem
    solving with proportionality between similar geometric figures, converting fractions to
    percents, proportionality with a given ratio, expression of a ratio, and appropriate
    application of ratios. The study indicates that a structured problem solving strategy can
    improve the mathematical accuracy, approach and the explanation of rational numbers
    that are focused on rates, ratio, proportion, and percents. Results showed a statistically
    significant difference in the performance of these two groups. Effect sizes and 95%
    confidence intervals (CIs) were reported to support the findings. When examining subgroups, the study showed the structured problem solving
    stratey not only improved students' ability to understand and use rational numbers but
    also improved students' problem solving skills and their attitude towards problem
    solving. The experimental group showed the most improvement in the approach to
    solving problems with rational numbers indicating deeper understanding of rates, ratios,
    proportions and percents.

publication date

  • May 2009