Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Khoury, Helen

Degree Name

M.S. (Master of Science)

Legacy Department

Department of Mathematical Sciences


Proportion--Study and teaching (Secondary)--Illinois; Mathematics--Study and teaching (Secondary)--Illinois; Reasoning--Study and teaching (Secondary)--Illinois


The application of mathematics to the real world is of particular emphasis in the high-school curriculum. The realization that not all students need to be trained as engineers has begun to take place, and students are being educated in skills that have use in non-specialized situations with relevant applications. A particular type of thinking that is utilized in many mathematical environments is proportional reasoning. The present study investigates the preferred choice of method by students who are solving word problems involving proportional reasoning. A problem solving instructional unit on solving proportion-related word problems was presented to first-year general mathematics students from a suburban Chicago high school. Each of the fifteen students completed a preunit test before they were presented with a two-week instructional unit that focused on multiple strategies for solving proportion-related word problems. The students then completed a post-unit test and an attitudinal survey. Five of the students also were interviewed following the completion of the instructional unit. All problems on the pre-unit test and post-unit test were evaluated for each student to determine whether or not responses were correct, as well as what type of strategies were used to obtain the responses. The comparative analysis of the pre-unit and post-unit tests showed a significant improvement in students’ abilities to solve word problems involving proportional reasoning. The qualitative analyses of the post-unit test and student interviews indicated that the unit-rate method was the preferred strategy for solving proportion-related word problems.


Includes bibliographical references (pages 83-85)


viii, 157 pages




Northern Illinois University

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