Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)


Education and Human Development


The ability to solve problems is an important and integral reason for learning mathematics. Teaching students to use heuristic problem-solving reasoning and strategies can help them become expert problem-solvers and assist them in transferring and applying their contextual knowledge to novel problems and situations. The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of teaching heuristic problem-solving reasoning and strategies on seventh grade students ' perceptions and level of achievement in mathematics. To do this, the researcher examined two aspects of problem-solving and student learning; the students' self-efficacy and their ability to solve non-routine problems in novel contexts. Two seventh-grade math classes participated in the study. One of the classes acted as a control group and received their standard problem-solving instruction. The other class acted as the intervention group which received explicit instruction on heuristic problem-solving reasoning and strategies.

The results of this study showed that students that were taught the heuristic reasoning and problem-solving strategies significantly improved in their level achievement compared to those that were not. The results also showed that for the group of students that received the intervention, there was a significant improvement in their positive perception of their problem solving abilities, but not in their degree of self-efficacy. In fact, there was a significant decrease in their degree of self-efficacy after the intervention. However, this change in self-efficacy resulted in a significant increase in the correlation between the students' perception of their problem-solving ability and their actual ability to solve problems. This indicates that even when teaching students to use heuristic problem-solving reasoning and strategies does not improve their degree of self-efficacy, it does provide them with a more realistic perception of their problem-solving abilities.

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