How long does it take to go 80 miles if you driving 80 mph?
Schake, Elizabeth M.
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This study examined the methods and skills of college students to solve problems based on rates of changes and unit conversions. It was hypothesized that students have misconceptions about rates of change and unit conversions, students would make the most mistakes when solving problems with multiple tasks, and that students would rely on textbook methods when the context is unfamiliar. Participants took an assessment consisting of six problems ranging in difficulty according to the number of mathematical tasks within the problem and the students’ familiarity with the context. Students also completed a short survey in order for the researcher to collect background information on each student. In addition to grading the assessment based on correctness, the methods that students used for each problem were categorized. The results of this study indicated that problems solved using a logical or narrative method were answered correctly more so than problems solved using other methods. The problem with the most mathematical tasks proved to be the most difficult problem for the students to answer correctly.
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