The Ability of Third, Fifth, and Seventh Graders to Understand and Apply a General Problem-solving Heuristic Scheme
Ann Jaffe Pace
Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, San Francisco, California, April 1986.
This study was conducted to assess the ability of third-, fifth-, and seventh-graders to learn a problem-solving heuristic scheme and apply it to grade-appropriate tasks. A framework was utilized that focused on metacognitive aspects of task performance, such as planfulness, strategy selection, monitoring, and evaluation. It was expected that use of this scheme would require a degree of reflection about one's own thought processes that might
be unavailable to younger students.
A football analogy was developed to represent five steps in the problem-solving scheme, with each step associated with an appropriate question. Ten students in each grade were seen individually on two occasions. Participants were taught the steps and shown how to apply them to everyday situations, concrete puzzles, and reading tasks. They were scored on their ability to remember the steps and use them with other reading passages, both immediately and at two-week follow-up.
Seventh graders could remember the problem-solving steps at follow-up better than the younger students, and they were more successful at using the scheme in the independent reading tasks. These results suggest that seventh graders, at least, could learn to apply such a scheme to a variety of academic tasks.
The Ability of Third, Fifth, and Seventh Graders to Understand and Apply a General
Problem-solving Heuristic Scheme
Ann Jaffe Pace
University of Missouri - Kansas City
Current thinking - and practice - regarding the teaching of generalizable problem-solving or thinking skills have tended to take one of two directions (Chipman & Segal, 1985). On the one hand are a growing number of often elaborate programs for...