Seminar – Contemporary issues in mathematics education: word problems and strategy flexibility
Speaker: Marian Hickendorff, Leiden University

13012021 – Time: 15:30 – 17:00
The seminar will be exclusively online: see the Teamslink below. 
Contemporary issues in mathematics education: word problems and strategy flexibility
My research ambition is to provide empirical basis to questions and discussions about mathematics education. In this seminar I will focus on two such topics.
The first is: What is the effect of presenting a mathematics problem as a word problem? Results from studies in first to sixth graders are presented, addressing ‘standard’ arithmetic word problems and different kinds of ‘nonstandard’ word problems, such as problems with an irrelevant number that has to be ignored, or problems where students have to make realistic considerations in order to obtain the right answer. Furthermore, the domain of wholenumber arithmetic is extended to fractions. Since fraction arithmetic is quite difficult and abstract for primary school students, situating such problems in realistic contexts might help students overcoming their difficulties.
The second topic is students’ flexible and adaptive strategy use in solving multidigit subtraction problems such as 8467. One of the objectives of mathematics education is that students can use ‘clever’ shortcut strategies such as addingon or compensation. However, research findings show that students are not much inclined to do so. Results from a study in third graders are presented that give insight into whether students know more then they show, and into whether the ‘clever’ shortcut strategy is really clever for individual students.