Effect of using multiple representations on student success in solving rational, radical, and absolute value equations and inequalities




Wood, Kip

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Because of an emerging body of research and a wealth of classroom experiences, the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics adopted representation as a process standard in 2000 to add to the four previously adopted (1989) process standards - problem solving, reasoning and proof, connections, and communication. The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of using multiple representations on learning to solve equations at the grade 11 level. The sources of data included three unit test scores for two different groups over a seven-week period prior to the treatment and a test score for the two groups after the treatment. Because of small class sizes (23 and 26), the statistical results need to be verified in future studies with larger groups. However, the results of this study indicate that students benefit from a multi-representational approach to equation solving. Students in the experimental group chose the graphing method of solving equations more often than the algebraic method and had more success with graphing compared to the algebraic approach. However, on some questions, students in the experimental group scored lower with the graphical method than the algebraic method. These results indicate that teachers need to weigh the benefits of teaching mathematical concepts with more than one representation against the costs of the learning demands placed on the student.



mathematics, secondary education, equations, numerical solutions, British Columbia