Exploring the role that language plays in solving mathematical word problems for the Solomon Islands secondary school students
Ambrose, M. (2010). Exploring the role that language plays in solving mathematical word problems for the Solomon Islands secondary school students (Thesis, Master of Education (MEd)). University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/10289/4992
Permanent Research Commons link: http://hdl.handle.net/10289/4992
Mathematics is described as language. There is a strong link between mathematics and English language. This study is concerned with the role of language factors and proficiency of students in comprehension and solving of word problems in the Solomon Islands. In particular, it explores the impact of language on the comprehension and solving of word problems for year eight students in three secondary schools in Honiara. Research data was gathered using mixed-method approach of data collection. The data collection happened in two phases. Firstly language and mathematical assessment portfolios were put together for 45 participants. Secondly, a semi-structured recall interview was conducted on eight participants chosen from the 45. The data gathering was conducted in the Solomon Islands in September 2009. There are interesting findings revealed in this research. In the language and mathematics baseline assessment portfolios, the scatter diagram showed no strong correlation between vocabulary knowledge and word problem solving. However, evidence from the word problems exercise and semi-structured recall interview elicited vocabulary and syntactical features as the main factors causing difficulties in word problems solving for the secondary school of the Solomon Islands students. Context and conceptual understanding played a role in facilitating the understanding of word problems. Some students demonstrated abilities contributing to their achievement in mathematics and language. However, further studies need to be done in relation to this area as it is very important and has implications for pedagogy, curriculum and learning improvement for teachers and students.
University of Waikato
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