The investigation of prospective mathematics teachers' non-algebraic solution strategies for word problems

Ocal M. F. , Sen C., Guler G., Kar T.

INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF MATHEMATICAL EDUCATION IN SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY, vol.51, no.4, pp.563-584, 2020 (Peer-Reviewed Journal) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 51 Issue: 4
  • Publication Date: 2020
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/0020739x.2019.1597936
  • Journal Indexes: Emerging Sources Citation Index, Scopus, Academic Search Premier, IBZ Online, Applied Science & Technology Source, Computer & Applied Sciences, EBSCO Education Source, Education Abstracts, Educational research abstracts (ERA), ERIC (Education Resources Information Center), zbMATH, DIALNET
  • Page Numbers: pp.563-584


This study aims to investigate the non-algebraic solution strategies that prospective mathematics teachers use to solve word problems and their thought process while they were solving the problems. A total of 76 prospective mathematics teachers were asked to solve two word problems without using algebraic solutions and, then, clinical interviews were conducted with a sub-sample of 20 participants. The solutions used by the participants were analysed according to the type and frequency of the strategy. The results show that prospective mathematics teachers did not use various non-algebraic solutions for word problems and that they used the guess and check strategy most often. According to the findings obtained from the interviews, it was found that the participants tended to rely on solutions that used algebraic equations related to the problem while producing solution strategies. Furthermore, the participants were found to have a limited understanding of how to interpret the algebraic equations within their context, the difference between algebraic and non-algebraic solutions, and problem-solving strategies, which prevented the participants from producing alternative solution strategies.