Gilbert, Mary Chiles (2003-05). Considering representational choices of fourth graders when solving division problems. Master's Thesis. Thesis uri icon


  • Students need to build on their own understanding when problem solving.
    Mathematics reform is moving away from skill and drill types of activities and
    encouraging students to develop their own approaches to problem solving. The National
    Council of Teachers of Mathematics emphasizes the importance of representation by
    including it as a process standard in Principles and Standards for School Mathematics
    (2000) as a means for students to develop mathematically powerful conceptualization.
    Students use representation to make sense of and communicate mathematical concepts.
    This study considers the way fourth grade students view and solve division problems and
    whether problem type affected the choice of strategy. This study also looked at factors
    that affect students' score performance. Students in extant classrooms were observed in
    their regular mathematics instructional settings. Data were collected and quantified from
    pretests and posttests using questions formatted like students see on the state assessment.
    The results indicate that students moved from pre-algorithmic strategies to algorithmic
    strategies between pretest and posttest administration. The results also indicate that
    problem type did not predict students' choice of strategy and did not have an affect on the students' ability to arrive at a correct solution to the problem. This study found that
    the students' choice of strategy did play a significant role in their quest for correct
    solutions. The implication is that when students are able to make sense of the problem
    and choose an appropriate strategy, they are able to successfully solve division

publication date

  • May 2003