HomeISU-Cabagan Journal of Researchvol. 21 no. 2 (2012)

Students’ Performance, Error Patterns and Attitude Towards Solving Word Problems in Algebra

Alberto R. Sia

Discipline: Education, Psychology



The study focused on the performance, error patterns and attitude of college freshman students towards solving word problems in Algebra. It also aimed to find out if there is a significant relationship between the students’ attitude in solving word problems and their performances in algebra. A random sample of 84 students were drawn from the total population of 523 freshman students at the College of Development Communication, Arts and Sciences, who were enrolled during the first semester of the school year 2011 – 2012. The stratified random sampling method with proportional allocation was used after determining the sample size through the Slovins formula. A ten word problem test on number, age, coin, work and investment and an attitude inventory were used to gather students’ performance and attitude towards word problems, respectively. Results of the study led to the findings that the students had low performance in solving word problems and that their lowest performance was in solving investment problems. However, they performed considerably better in solving number, age and coin problems. Analysis of students’ incorrect responses revealed that there is a consistent error pattern in all problems in the representation of mathematical statements into algebraic symbols, formulation of equation and analysis of equations. Majority of the students have fair attitude towards solving word problems; some have favorable attitude, very few have very favorable attitude, and very few also have unfavorable attitude towards solving algebraic word problems. The t-test pointed out that there is a highly significant positive relationship between the students’ attitude and performance in solving word problems, that is, students who have favorable attitude towards word problem solving have the tendency to perform better than those who have less favorable attitude.