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The Impact of Preservice Teachers' Content Knowledge on Their Evaluation of Students' Strategies for Solving Arithmetic and Algebra Word Problems

Wim Van Dooren, Lieven Verschaffel, Patrick Onghena 

November 2002, Volume 33, Issue 5, Page 319

The study reported here investigated the arithmetical and algebraic problem-solving strategies and skills of preservice primary school and secondary school teachers in Flanders, Belgium, both at the beginning and at the end of their teacher training. The  study then compared these aspects of the preservice teachers' own problem-solving behavior with the way in which they evaluated students' arithmetical and algebraic solutions to problems. Future secondary school teachers clearly preferred the use of  algebra, both in their own solutions and in their evaluations of students' work, even when an arithmetical solution seemed more evident. Some future primary school teachers tended to apply exclusively arithmetical methods, leading to numerous failures  on difficult word problems, whereas others were quite adaptive in their strategy choices. Taken as a whole, the evaluations of the preservice primary school teachers were more closely adapted to the nature of the task than those of their secondary school  counterparts.

Action Research
Calculus and Higher Level Mathematics
Grades 3-5
Grades 6-8
Grades 9-12
Numbers and Operations
Problem Solving / Problem Posing