Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah Institute of Education, Universiti Brunei Darussalam
Word problems involving fractions have always been considered as difficult not only for the students to learn but also for teachers to teach (Jamilah, 2004). This paper reports on how a sample of 37 Year 5 pupils performed in solving word problems involving fractions. Five types of errors as identified by Newman (1977) were committed by the sample students. The five types of errors were reading, comprehension, process, transformation and encoding errors. All those types of errors were profusely exhibited by the sample in the pre-test. A series of intervention lessons were administered to the sample. The approaches used in the intervention lessons were “act it out”, “draw a diagram” and make an equation” using concrete, semi-concrete and abstract materials. The post-test result showed that though the improvement was not very highly statistically significant, some improvement in the students’ performance were observed. This implies that students need to absorb the concept of basic fractions very well first before they could apply them in solving word problems. The study also suggests that the 3 alternative strategies used worth to be explored further with a bigger sample in future. An implication on the teacher education preparation with regards to the teaching and learning of fractions will also be discussed.
Fractions, Errors, Problem Solving