Latvia University of Life Sciences and Technologies (LATVIA)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2018 Proceedings
Publication year: 2018
Pages: 6181-6188
ISBN: 978-84-09-05948-5
ISSN: 2340-1095
doi: 10.21125/iceri.2018.2449
Conference name: 11th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 12-14 November, 2018
Location: Seville, Spain
Framework for 21st Century Learning was developed with input from teachers, education experts, and business leaders to define and illustrate the skills and knowledge students need to succeed in work, life and citizenship, as well as the support systems necessary for 21st century learning outcomes. A focus on creativity, critical thinking, communication and collaboration is essential to prepare students for the future.

Mathematics is one of the main subjects for developing problem-solving skills. Studying mathematics, students should be able to develop new mathematical knowledge through problem solving, solve problems arising in mathematics and other contexts, apply and adapt various appropriate strategies to solve problems, monitor and analyse the problems of mathematical processes.

The aim of this study is to identify the main causes of mistakes in solving mathematical problems and to help students to identify their lack of knowledge and skills.

More than 200 first-year students from the Faculty of Engineering and from the Faculty of Information Technology of the Latvia University of Life Sciences and Technologies, who studied mathematics in 2017/2018 study year, were surveyed after first semester. As study results show more than 22% of students admitted that they don’t have ability to identify the problems, more than 15% are unable to interpret the problem. Worrying is the fact that more than 30% of students considers that they have not developed ability to analyse the problem and to model the process of problem solution.

In order to obtain the lowest grade in mathematics, students must at least solve the problem by algorithm. It does not require the above mentioned capabilities, but only the ability to solve the mathematical problem using formulas. More than 22% of students admit that they are unable to solve the mathematical problem. In order to identify the main causes of problems in solving mathematical tasks was carried out another student survey. It showed that the main students' problem is the inability to understand mathematical formulas and mathematical transforms (more than 30% of students).

When the students have identified their lack of knowledge and skills, students have the opportunity to prevent them by attending consultations.

Two more important problems were highlighted as a result of the survey- the inability to manage time and choose priorities. As proof of this, there are homework that was not submittet on time, attending consultation only after a failed test and others. This is one of the reasons for a large dropout of first-year students. Unfortunately, mostly students are ready to invest only the minimum effort to develop problem-solving skills
Problem Solving Skills, mathematics, learning problems.