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Abstract

We attempt to answer the problem “When approaching word problems, do students prefer certain real life application over others?” through two studies involving classroom research. Each study involved students in four college algebra sections in two two-year campuses. Students were presented with a selection of word problems covering a spectrum of application areas and asked to select three problems to solve. Problems in study one covered quadratic functions while those in study two covered exponential and logarithmic functions. The problems were categorized in to three categories. Category R represented problems to which the students can easily relate to while category I represented problems which had a certain level of intrigue. Category U represented problems which did not fall in to the R or I categories. The results conclusively showed that students significantly preferred problems in the I and R categories over those in the U category.

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