Problem Solving Strategies of High School Students on Non-Routine Problems

Rina A. Mabilangan, Auxencia A. Limjap, Rene R. Belecina


The main purpose of this study wasto investigate how well certain students in auniversity high school solve non-routineproblems. These problem situations requiredthe use of their conceptual understanding ofmathematics and their procedural knowledgeof the algorithm involved in the solution.Results of analysis of students’ solutionsshowed that each student employed at leastfour problem-solving strategies. Seven out ofthe eight possible problem solving strategieswere used at least once to solve the twelvenon-routine problems. When given theopportunity to use any problem solvingstrategy, the students solved non-routineproblems even without prior instruction. Themost frequently used strategy was “Making aModel or Diagram.” After evaluating thestudents’ problem solving skills using theOregon Mathematics Problem Solving Rubric,results showed that of the five students,three had proficient level of conceptualunderstanding and procedural knowledge,one was a transitional problem solver fromapprentice to proficient level of performance,and one was an apprentice problem solver.Those who performed well were alsoproficient in the use of solution strategieswhereas the transitional problem solverswere either novice to apprentice orapprentice to proficient in their use ofsolution strategies.

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