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ERIC Number: ED349331
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1992-Feb
Reference Count: 0
The Influence of Problem Context on Mathematics Performance. Project 2.1: Alternative Approaches to Assessment in Mathematics and Science.
Webb, Noreen; Yasui, Esther
Whether or not working with more realistic and lengthier problems during instruction would make students better able to solve similar problems on achievement tests was studied for 82 seventh graders (50 in the experimental condition and 32 in the control condition) in general mathematics classes at an urban middle school. The study also investigated whether different kinds of problems (short versus extended word problems) would promote different information about students' performance and problem-solving ability. Two seventh-grade classes were assigned to the experimental situation of realistic problems, and one classroom was assigned to the control condition of textbook problems. Experience with extended realistic problems did not give students an advantage on the posttest, and the lack of experience did not seem to be a disadvantage. Different kinds of word problems did reveal different information about problem-solving skills, but these differences were only found by coding specific errors. On extended word problems, some students misinterpreted the type of answers required, something that did not happen on short problems. On short problems, students sometimes omitted a type of item altogether. Further studies will be needed to measure these aspects of problem-solving ability. Three figures and 13 tables present study findings. There are 18 references, and 9 appendixes, each containing a table of additional data. (SLD)
Descriptors: Achievement Tests, Comparative Testing, Context Effect, Grade 7, Junior High School Students, Junior High Schools, Mathematics Achievement, Mathematics Tests, Middle School Students, Middle Schools, Pretests Posttests, Problem Solving, Student Experience, Urban Schools, Word Problems (Mathematics)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing, Los Angeles, CA.