An examination of grade three mathematics textbooks for problem solving strategies
Javed, Iffat H.
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Three grade three mathematics textbooks were selected arbitrarily (every other) from a total of six currently used in the schools of Ontario. These textbooks were examined through content analysis in order to determine the extent (i. e., the frequency of occurrence) to which problem solving strategies appear in the problems and exercises of grade three mathematics textbooks, and how well they carry through the Ministry's educational goals set out in The Formative Years. Based on Polya's heuristic model, a checklist was developed by the researcher. The checklist had two main categories, textbook problems and process problems and a finer classification according to the difficulty level of a textbook problem; also six commonly used problem solving strategies for the analysis of a process problem. Topics to be analyzed were selected from the subject guideline The Formative Years, and the same topics were selected from each textbook. Frequencies of analyzed problems and exercises were compiled and tabulated textbook by textbook and topic by topic. In making comparisons, simple frequency count and percentage were used in the absence of any known criteria available for judging highor low frequency. Each textbook was coded by three coders trained to use the checklist. The results of analysis showed that while there were large numbers of exercises in each textbook, not very many were framed as problems according to Polya' s model and that process problems form a small fraction of the number of analyzed problems and exercises. There was no pattern observed as to the systematic placement of problems in the textbooks.