Students' ability in solving non-routine and routine mathematical problems.

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Author: Navejas, Amelia T.

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Copyright Year: 2011

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This study determined the students’ ability in solving non-routine and routine mathematical problems, as well as the relationship between solving non-routine and routine mathematical problems abilities. It also sought to find out if there was a significant difference between the students’ ability in solving non-routine and routine mathematical problems. The respondents of this study were the 36 third year Bachelor of Secondary Education (BSED) and Bachelor of Arts (AB) major in mathematics students of Aklan State University presently enrolled during the 1st semester school year 2010-2011. The data gathering instruments used were the non-routine and routine mathematical problems tests and interview schedule. The study revealed that the students’ ability in solving non-routine mathematical problems was very high, while that of routine problems was high. The respondents employed 8 types of strategies in solving the correct answer in non-routine mathematical problems such as; draw a picture, working backward, find a pattern, write an equation, trial and error, guess and check, dimensional analysis and make a table or diagram. Writing an equation strategy was common in solving correct answer in routine mathematical problems. The interview confirmed that the student’s solution to specific item was limited only to one strategy as introduced by their teachers. Good problem solvers have higher critical thinking, logical reasoning and common sense in solving non-routine mathematical problem. They knew the algorithms, procedures or formulas in a specific problem in routine mathematical problem. The high performing students stated that the students must be interested in Mathematics, must have patience and determination to answer the problem-solving correctly, must have good health condition, and should believe that they can solve the problem. The low performing students encountered difficulties in solving non-routine and routine mathematical problems. Although they understood the mathematical problems they could not translate these into mathematical statements nor could determine the appropriate strategy and stated that they forgot the algorithm, procedure or formula in a specific routine mathematical problem. Further analysis reflected that there was a significant relationship between the students’ ability in solving non-routine and routine mathematical problems. It also revealed that there is a significant difference between the students’ abilities to solve non-routine and routine mathematical problems. This group of students seemed performed better in non-routine problems. However, there was no significant difference between the ability of the males and the females in solving non-routine and routine mathematical problems.


Keywords: Students' ability, Non-routine mathematical problems, Routine mathematical problems

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