Students’ Difficulties in Transfer of Problem Solving Across Representations Documents

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Students’ Difficulties in Transfer of Problem Solving Across Representations 

written by Dong-Hai Nguyen and N. Sanjay Rebello

Studies indicate that the use of multiple representations in teaching helps students become better problem solvers. We report on a study to investigate students' difficulties with multiple representations. We conducted teaching/learning interviews with 20 students in a first semester calculus-based physics course. Each student was interviewed four times during the semester, each time after they had completed an exam in class. During these interviews students were first asked to solve a problem they had seen on the exam, followed by problems that differed in context and type of representation from the exam problem. Students were provided verbal scaffolding to solve the new problems. We discuss the common difficulties that students encountered when attempting to transfer their problem solving skills across problems in different representations.

Published November 11, 2009
Last Modified October 11, 2009

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