NOMAD 12(3), 2007. Gender and strategy use in proportional situations: an Icelandic study



This study was conducted to investigate the influence of contextual and number structures on individuals’ use of strategies in solving missing value proportion problems, and to examine gender differences in strategy use. Fifty-three eighth graders in one school in Reykjavik, Iceland, participated in this study. Twenty-seven females and twenty-six males were individually interviewed as they solved sixteen missing value proportion problems. The problems represented four contextual structures. No gender differences were identified in the overall success rate. However, girls were more successful than boys in handling associated sets and symbolic problems, and boys were more successful than girls in part-part-whole problems. Moreover, the data suggest that the contextual structures influence females’ choice of strategy more than that of males.


Denne artikel handler om strategier ved løsning af proportionalitets-problemer og det undersøges hvordan opgavernes kontekstuelle og talmæssige strukturer influerer på henholdsvis drenges og pigers valg af løsningsstrategier.
Der kunne ikke påvises kønsforskelle i elevernes generelle succesrater. Pigerne var dog mere succesfulde end drengene ved A–S og S–P opgaver mens drengene klarede P–P–W opgaver bedre end pigerne. Endvidere indikerer data, at den kontekstuelle struktur i højere grad påvirker pigernes valg af strategi end drengenes.

A former mathematics classroom teacher in her native country of Iceland, assistant professor Olof Bjorg Steinthorsdottir teaches mathematics education courses. Her scholarly interests include the teaching and learning of mathematics among students in pre-kindergarten through middle school, specifically students' understanding of mathematics and how teachers can use that knowledge to make instructional decisions. Her interests also include gender and mathematics. Steinthorsdottir has been active member within PME and has in resent years co-organized the working/discussion group about gender and mathematics. She received her PhD in Mathematics Education from the University of Wisconsin in Madison.

Bharath Sriraman is associate professor of mathematics at the University of Montana, with a wide range of eclectic research interests including mathematical cognition and gender issues. Bharath is the editor-in-chief of the Montana Mathematics Enthusiast, associate editor of ZDM – the International Journal on Mathematics Education, consulting editor of Interchange: A Quarterly Review of Education, and reviews editor of Mathematical Thinking & Learning as well as ZDM. He holds very active research ties with researchers in many countries including Iceland.