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Investigating middle school students’ achievement and strategies in proportional reasoning problems

Yılmaz, Gamze Öze
The aims of the study are to specify the academic achievement of the fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth grade students in proportional reasoning problems, to determine how the academic achievement of these students change according to problem types, to examine their solution strategies in these problems, and to reveal how these strategies diversify from fifth to eighth grade. To collect data in order to achieve these aims, a proportional reasoning test were prepared. The study was designed as a mixed study. It was carried out with a total of 858 students- 255 fifth, 209 sixth, 256 seventh and 138 eighth grade students- studying at a public school in Mamak district of Ankara in the fall semester of the 2018-2019 academic year. The data were obtained from all students in the quantitative part of the study. In the qualitative part of the study, the data were collected from 80 students in total. These students were 20 students with the highest score in proportional reasoning test at each grade level. The findings of the study revealed that the achievement of the students in proportional reasoning test increased depending on the grade levels and changed according to the types of problems. It was further observed that the students frequently used certain solution strategies, and these strategies differed according to their grade levels. Additionally, it was concluded that students had the proportional reasoning skills although they were not taught these skills formally.