Investigation of Elementary School Students’ Problem Posing Abilities for Arithmetic Expressions in the Context of Order of Operations

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Mehmet Fatih Öçal, Ali Sabri İpek, Ercan Özdemir, Tuğrul Kar


In this study, the aim is two folds; investigating sixth grade elementary school students’ problem posing abilities for arithmetic expression and, in this context, determining the role of order of operations rules, one of the factors that may result in low achievement among students. The study is conducted to 96 sixth grade enrolled in a public elementary school located in a city at East Black Sea Region. Students were expected to create stories related to daily life situations for arithmetic expressions involving any two of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division of natural numbers. The stories created were analyzed according to the criteria of being associated with daily life, whether the operations/numbers were expressed in them and order of operations. The findings gathered revealed that the percentages of incorrect answers reasoning from ignoring the order of operations were less than 11% for all items. It was determined that the difficulties experienced by students were more commonly observed in the attempts to express the numbers and operations found in the arithmetic operations verbally in daily life context. Considering the high percentage of students’ responses which stories they created did not signify the numbers and operations found in the arithmetic expressions, it was not an effective approach to evaluate the process of order of operations in the context of problem posing.

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