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Primary 6 students’ attitudes towards mathematical problem-solving in a problem-based learning setting
Problem-based learning
Mathematical problem-solving
Mathematical modelling
Affective domain
Issue Date: 
Chan, E. C. M. (2011). Primary 6 students’ attitudes towards mathematical problem-solving in a problem-based learning setting. The Mathematics Educator, 13(1), 15-31.
Research has indicated that student attitudes towards mathematics and mathematics learning can impact on mathematics achievement. While research has also indicated that unconventional pedagogies such as problem-based learning or cooperative learning may promote interest in student learning, the lack of evidence of the effects of these pedagogies in Singapore primary mathematics classrooms fuels the need to understand if these newer learning environments will promote positive attitudes. In this study, 80 Primary 6 students were surveyed to determine their attitudes towards solving mathematical modelling problems in a problem-based
learning (PBL) setting after they had solved five modelling tasks. Contrary to a local study that suggests that Grade 7 students were not positive about solving challenging mathematics problems, results from the Attitudes Questionnaire show positive responses in the attributes of Interest, Perseverance, and Confidence, and suggesting that PBL can promote positive attitude in mathematics learning. Mixed-ability students registered higher, but statistically not significant, mean scores in these three areas than high-ability students. Students' open responses suggest that solving problems in a PBL setting is a promising pedagogic approach.
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