Date of Award

1-1-2002

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Education

School

School of education

Faculty

Faculty of Community Services, Education and Social Sciences

First Advisor

Dr Jack Bana

Abstract

This study explored the relationship between estimation skill and computational ability for whole and rational numbers. The methods carried out were both quantitative as well as qualitative and data were collected from three primary schools along with their associated high school in the Perth area. The year levels chosen were 5, 7 and 9. There were two classes from each chosen primary school representing Year 5 and Year 7 and three classes of Year 9 from the high school. The total number of students involved was 91, 77 and 73 from the three respective year levels. Instruments used for collecting data were group-administered tests and interview. Two parallel tests with identical items, where one of the pair was estimation and the other written computation were administered to all the students in the chosen year levels. Interviews were conducted for the group of selected students based on the criteria: slightly above the average and slightly below the average. There were eighteen students with nine in each group. The results of the correlation shows that performance in estimation is positively correlated with written computation in all the year levels. Moreover, the t-test result reveals that there is no significant difference between the two tests expect in Year 7. Hence, the findings indicate that a child who is good in estimation skill can also perform well in written computation. As such, the importance of achieving estimation skill in a child would be very helpful in solving computation problems with understanding. On the other hand, children's performance related to the development of estimation skill and computational ability seems to be in positive direction from Year 5 to Year 7. Whereas the Year 9's performance is lower than Year 7. Among the topics, the children fared better in whole numbers compared to other topics. Performance tends to follow in a descending order from whole number to ratios. The disparities between estimation skill and computational ability are also more towards the difficult topics like division and multiplication of fractions and decimals. At the same time, the feedback from the interviewees tend to show that, the children from slightly above the average are better at choosing their own sensible strategies for solving the problems, whereas the students from slightly below average are more prone to the rote-learned algorithms. Although, male students appeared to perform better than the female students, the differences in performances are not that high. Thus, the result depicts that there are no significant gender issues in the selected year levels and topics. Further research needs to be carried out in order to determine the relationship between estimation skill and computational ability with topics other than whole and rational numbers, especially in measurement topics. Moreover, such studies can be done involving larger samples, and in other countries as well, Doing so can highlight the importance of the integration of estimation skill in teaching and learning mathematics.

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