CE  Vol.4 No.9 B , September 2013
Analysis of Pupils’ Difficulties in Solving Questions Related to Fractions: The Case of Primary School Leaving Examination in Tanzania
ABSTRACT

In this paper, analysis of the performance of candidates in Mathematics in Primary School Leaving Examination was conducted with the aim of highlighting difficulties encountered in solving fraction-related problems. The analysis has indicated that a considerable number of candidates could not perform correct operations related to fractions. They tended to confuse fraction concepts with whole number concepts. For instance, in questions involving addition of fractions, they were treating numerators and denominators as separate entities. Possible reasons for such difficulties in solving questions related to fractions include lack of understanding of appropriate procedures to apply in solving a problem, the complexity of the task, over-generalization of procedures even in situations which are inappropriate. It is recommended that a protocol analysis be conducted in order to gain a deep understanding of the thought process of candidates when attempting questions related to fractions so that teachers may use relevant teaching methods that would facilitate meaningful learning of fractions.


Cite this paper
Ndalichako, J. (2013). Analysis of Pupils’ Difficulties in Solving Questions Related to Fractions: The Case of Primary School Leaving Examination in Tanzania. Creative Education, 4, 69-73. doi: 10.4236/ce.2013.49B014.
References
[1]   Behr, M., Harel, G., Post, T., & Lesh, R. (1992). Rational number. ratio and proportion. In D. Grouws (Ed.), Handbook of research on mathematics teaching and learning. New York: MacMillan.

[2]   Bezuk, N., & Bieck, M. (1993). Current research on rational numbers and common fractions: Summary and implications for teachers. In D. Owens (Ed.), Research ideas for the classroom: Middle grade mathematics. NY: MacMillan.

[3]   Borko, H., Eisenhart, M., Brown, C., Underhill, R., Jones, D., & Agard, P. (1992). Learning to teach hard mathematics: Do novice teachers and their instructors give up too easily? Journal for Research in Maths Edu-cation, 23, 194-222. http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/749118

[4]   Gould, O., & Mitchelmore (2006). Conference proceedings of the 2006 meeting of the Mathematics education Research Group of Australia (MERGA): Australia.

[5]   Idris, N., & Narayanan, L. M. (2011). Error patterns in addition and subtraction of fractions among form two students. Journal of Mathematics Education, 4, 35-54.

[6]   Mack, N. (1990). Learning fractions with understanding: Building on informal knowledge. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 21, 16-32. http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/749454

[7]   Moss, J., & Case, T. (1999). Developing children’s understanding of the rational numbers: A new model and an experimental curriculum. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 30, 122-148. http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/749607

[8]   NECTA (2012). Primary school leaving examination results statistics: National, regional, district, and subject performance. NECTA, Dar es Salaam.

[9]   NECTA (2013). Analysis of Candidates’ responses to primary school leaving examination questions for the year 2012: Mathematics. NECTA, Dar es Salaam.

[10]   Newstead, K., & Murray, H. (1998). Young students’ constructions of fractions. In A. Olivier, & K. Newstead (Eds.), Proceedings of the 22nd Conference of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education, 3, 295-303. Stellenbosch, South Africa.

[11]   Pitkethly, A., & Hunting, R. (1996). A review of recent research in the area of initial fraction concepts. Educational Studies in Mathematics, 30, 5-38. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/BF00163751

[12]   Saxe, G. B., Taylor, E..V., McIntosh, C., & Geahart, M. (2005). Representing fractions with standard notations: A development analysis. Journal for Research in Ma-thematics Education, 36, 137-157.

[13]   Siebert, D., & Gaskin, N. (2006). Creating, naming and justifying fractions. Teaching Children Mathematics, 12, 394-400.

[14]   Stafylidous, S., & Vosniodou, S. (2004). The development of students’ understanding of the numerical value of fractions. Learning and Instruction, 14, 503-518. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.learninstruc.2004.06.015

[15]   Tanzania Institute of Education (2004). Primary education curriculum for Tanzania Mainland. Dar es salaam. (Unpublished Document).

[16]   Tzur, R. (1999). An integrated study of children’s construction of improper fractions and the teachers role in promoting that learning, Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 30, 390-416. http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/749707

 
 
Top