An analysis of student performance on everyday problem solving tasks

Çakır, Nur
Senemoğlu, Nuray
Students have more experience in solving well-structured problems as they are more common in the educational setting. However problems faced in everyday practice are generally ill-structured problems which may have many equally effective alternative solutions (Jonassen, 1997). This study investigates pre-service teachersí problem solving strategies in social sciences/in everyday situations, determine their tendencies and deficiencies, and explore the differences between problem solving behaviors of freshmen and seniors. 72 students were asked to solve illstructured problem scenarios and the data was analyzed quantitatively to observe studentsí problem solving behaviors, whether there is a significant difference between freshmen and seniors, and whether there is a relation between problem solving and academic achievement. The results revealed that students had particular difficulty in providing adequate support for their solutions and lacked arguments that evaluate their proposals in terms of their pros and cons. No significant differences were observed between freshmen and seniors in terms of defining the problem, decomposing the problem into sub-problems and evaluating the proposed solution, and there was no significant relationship between problem solving skills and academic achievement. The implications of these findings for curriculum designers, educators in higher education and education policy makers will be discussed.
Citation Formats
N. Çakır and N. Senemoğlu, “An analysis of student performance on everyday problem solving tasks,” presented at the 16th Biennial EARLI Conference for Research on Learning, 25 - 29 Ağustos 2015, Limasol, Kıbrıs, 2015, Accessed: 00, 2021. [Online]. Available: