Date of Award

1-1-1991

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Education

School

School of Education

Faculty

Faculty of Education

First Advisor

Dr. Jack Bana

Second Advisor

Mr. Alistair McIntosh

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to investigate the various strategies used by year seven students when carrying out division computations mentally. A comparison was made between the strategies used by high and low performing mental calculators. A number of high and low performing mental calculators were chosen as a result of their performances on twelve interview items. Both groups of students were given a set of division problems to complete mentally. After solving each problem the students were asked on a one-to-one basis to reflect on the strategy or method they used to solve the problem. The interviews were audio-taped, transcribed and coded. Non verbal behaviour was recorded on a separate sheet during the interview. The data were analysed to determine what differences existed between high and low performing mental calculators in relation to the strategies they used to solve division computations mentally. The diversity and range of strategies used by each group were compared. Commonly used strategies were noted together with those which hindered the mental solution of problems. It is hoped that the results of this investigation can be used to aid teachers to improve the teaching of mental calculation in ordinary classrooms. The results may also be helpful to those working in remedial mathematics. Further it is hoped that a follow up study may be carried out to determine the best way of improving the performance of both skilled and unskilled mental calculators.

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