October 31, 2010

Understanding the concepts of proportion and ratio among grade nine students in Malaysia

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Author: Singh P.1

Source: International Journal of Mathematical Education in Science and Technology, Volume 31, Number 4, 1 July 2000 , pp. 579-599(21)

Publisher: Taylor and Francis Ltd


The purpose of the study was to investigate the concepts of ratio and proportion constructed by grade nine students by investigating grade nine students proportional reasoning schemes and procedures on three types of tasks: missing value, numerical comparison and qualitative reasoning. Comparisons among the different categories were made and the strategies used in solving these problems were identified. The relationship between student grades on a national examination and their knowledge of proportional reasoning was determined. The results of the quantitative analysis indicated that students performed generally well on the missing value tasks but their scores on the numerical comparison and qualitative tasks were much lower. The results indicate that only a small percentage of students who did well on the national exams were able to solve complex proportional problems and the grades obtained were not indicative of their knowledge of ratio and proportion. The difficulty experienced by the ninth graders indicated that students frequently used additive reasoning, that is a comparison of two numbers by subtraction rather than division. It appears that students cannot begin to understand the functional and scalar relationship inherent in a proportion until they first develop multiplicative reasoning.

Those of you who are interested in looking into this further will be able to access the Journal on site and free of charge.

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