Polotskaia, E., Savard, A., Cavalcante, A., & Fellus, O. (2019). Middle School students’ difficulties in problem solving and their roots in elementary education: What went wrong for them? In SEMT 2019 (pp. 1–10). Prague, Czech Republic.
Abstract : Problem solving is identified as key in learning mathematics. However, problem solving still remains a source of challenges and difficulties to many students. The purpose of this research is to turn attention to learned ways of solving problems that preclude students’ ability to adopt appropriate strategies in problem solving. To do so, we draw on Davydov’s work to distinguish between different quantitative relationships; Brousseau’s concept of didactical milieu; and work on metacognition defined here as decisions about steps and strategies in problem solving. Using these three lines of theories together, we analyzed data working with first-year, middle school students who failed their elementary school examination. Findings suggest that students rely on operational approaches emanate from their didactical milieu, which precludes the use of appropriate metacognitive tools when solving problems.