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Durham University

School of Education

Staff Profile

Publication details for Dr Tony Harries

Cooper, B. & Harries, A.V. (2002). Children's Responses to Contrasting 'Realistic' Mathematics Problems: Just How Realistic Are Children Ready To Be? Educational Studies in Mathematics 49(1): 1-23.

Author(s) from Durham

Abstract

In recent years there has been an increasing emphasis within the world of mathematics education on realistic problem solving. At the same time research has shown that children typically remain apparently unwilling or unable to introduce realistic considerations when solving supposedly realistic word problems, though research has also shown that children's behaviour in this domain does vary as a function of the nature of the item, its context and the child's social background. This paper analyses 11-12 year old English children's responses to two 'realistic' problems. The first is taken from English national tests; the second is a revised version of this item which has been rewritten to encourage a more realistic pattern of responses. Through a comparison of responses to the two items it is suggested that, given suitable 'realistic' problems, many children may be more willing and able to introduce realistic responses in a testing context than earlier research might lead us to expect.

Notes

Analyzes 11-12-year-old English children's responses to two 'realistic' problems. Through a comparison of responses to two items, suggests that, given suitable 'realistic' problems, many children may be more willing and able to introduce realistic responses in a testing context than earlier research might lead one to expect. (Author/MM)