The Influence of Cognitive Abilities on Mathematical Problem Solving Performance
mathematical problem solving
AdvisorMaker, C. June
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractProblem solving has been a core theme in education for several decades. Educators and policy makers agree on the importance of the role of problem solving skills for school and real life success. A primary purpose of this study was to investigate the influence of cognitive abilities on mathematical problem solving performance of students. The author investigated this relationship by separating performance in open-ended and closed situations. The second purpose of this study was to explore how these relationships were different or similar in boys and girls. No significant difference was found between girls and boys in cognitive abilities including general intelligence, general creativity, working memory, mathematical knowledge, reading ability, mathematical problem solving performance, verbal ability, quantitative ability, and spatial ability. After controlling for the influence of gender, the cognitive abilities explained 51.3% (ITBS) and 53.3% (CTBS) of the variance in MPSP in closed problems as a whole. Mathematical knowledge and general intelligence were found to be the only variables that contributed significant variance to MPSP in closed problems. Similarly, after controlling for the influence of gender, the cognitive abilities explained 51.3% (ITBS) and 46.3% (CTBS) of the variance in mathematical problem solving performance in open-ended problems. General creativity and verbal ability were found to be the only variables that contributed significant variance to MPSP in open problems. The author concluded that closed and open-ended problems require different cognitive abilities for reaching correct solutions. In addition, when combining all of these findings the author proposed that the relationship between cognitive abilities and problem solving performance may vary depending on the structure (type) and content of a problem. The author suggested that the content of problems that are used in instruments should be analyzed carefully before using them as a measure of problem solving performance.
Degree ProgramGraduate College