Departement of Mathematics, Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Science, Universitas Negeri Surabaya, Jalan Ketintang Gedung C8 Unesa, Surabaya, Indonesia, 60231


Composing context-based mathematics problem (CbMP) is a challenge in educational practice. This study aims at exploring experts’ notion and students’ responses on the CbMP developed using PISA mathematics framework. An explorative study was undertaken to understand the nature of the developed CbMP from the notion suggested by experts from PISA, PMRI (Indonesian version of Realistic Mathematics Education), and experienced teacher. Data were collected from experts’ comments on the CbMP as well as the responses of 70 students on the CbMP and a questionnaire. The comments were categorized and analyzed regarding the authenticity of context, plausibility, conformity to the profile of PISA task, clarity of information, and the use of language structure. Results indicate that the authenticity of the context and language structure becomes main issues commented in the CbMP. However, students’ responses indicate the CbMP were able to attract their interest and seriousness when working on the CbMP. Also, more than 50% of students admitted activating most of the so-called Fundamental Mathematical Capabilities, in which reasoning and argumentation were recognized to be activated in solving the CbMP by most students.The state of experts’ notion and students’ responses on the CbMP are worthy to suggest teachers in composing context-based mathematics problem for mathematics instruction.

Keywords: Context-based mathematics problem, Mathematical literacy, PISA mathematics.

1.  Introduction

Over the last two decades, the existing research in mathematics education has recommended examining how well pupils are able to apply their knowledge and mathematical skills to figure out mathematical problems embedded in meaningful real-world contexts [1]. Thus, the inclusion of context in problems used within instructional practices has been highly recommended by current reform mathematics curricula around the world. This reform is indicated by an international educational survey, namely PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) (see, for example, OECD [2]) which emphasize on the connectedness of the instructional mathematical content by focussing on problem-solving and mathematical literacy. Consequently, context becomes one of the important issues discussed in the creation of composing mathematics problem, mainly in case of its relation with real-world situation [3].

To compose mathematical problem, a suggestion has been given to teacher to understand the so-called ‘Mathematical-task knowledge for teaching’ dealing with the knowledge teachers need in order to select and develop tasks to promote students’ conceptual understanding of mathematics, support their development of mathematical thinking, capture their interest, and curiosity and optimize the learning potential of such tasks [4]. This seems to support the idea of incorporating knowledge of context into the mathematical-task knowledge since a context should provide information that can be organized mathematically and should offer opportunities for students to work within the context by using their pre-existing knowledge and experiences [5]. In this study, the definition of context-based mathematics problem follows the definition offered by Wijaya [6], i.e. context-based mathematics tasks as tasks situated in real-world settings which provide elements or information that need to be organized and modeled mathematically.

However, we argue that composing CbMP, especially, would be challenging for teachers [7]. It is not only about making problem plausible to solve but also making problem authentic in which the real world included can be modeled mathematically satisfying the PISA mathematics framework. Thus, it is important for them to gain a broader insight on how to compose context-based mathematics problem for their instructional purpose from the perspectives of experts of context-based mathematics problem (CbMP). Therefore, this present study aims at understanding the nature context-based mathematics problem through the notion given by experts and responses by students dealing with CbMP.

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About Bang Qohar

I'm Wachid. I'm Indonesian. I'm interested in educating children, especially in mathematics learning. I believe that mathematics could be well built to children for better life. I graduated from Mathematics Education of State University of Surabaya. I am studying Mathematics Education for my magister degree focusing on Realistics Mathematics Education.

Posted on October 12, 2017, in Articles, Assessment in Math Education, For Teachers, Math Problems, pisa, Realistics Mathematics Education, Research in Mathematics Education. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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