How do college students solve proportion problems?
Article first published online: 18 AUG 2006
Copyright © 1981 Wiley Periodicals, Inc., A Wiley Company
Journal of Research in Science Teaching
Volume 18, Issue 4, pages 335–340, July 1981
How to Cite
Thornton, M. C. and Fuller, R. G. (1981), How do college students solve proportion problems?. J. Res. Sci. Teach., 18: 335–340. doi: 10.1002/tea.3660180408
- Issue published online: 18 AUG 2006
- Article first published online: 18 AUG 2006
- Manuscript Accepted: 13 NOV 1980
Problems which could be solved using proportional reasoning were administered nationwide by college faculty to their own science classes during a three year period. The reasoning of more than 8000 students covering three sections of the country was classified as concrete, transitional, or formal using Piagetian categories. Data from the West closely replicated that from the Midwest on similar metric conversion tasks. Student performance changed noticeably with a different problem format. The percentages of students using a ratio formula, ratio attempt, or intuitive methods of solution held approximately constant over time, task, and section of the country. The data shows the use of additive and conversion methods of solution depends upon the problem presentation.