In-service Mathematics Teachers’ Perceptions on Enhancing Students’ Problem Solving Abilities in Mathematics


  • Mulugeta Atnafu Addis Ababa University, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia


Problem solving ability, routine and non-routine problems, multiple strategies, visual representations


Problem solving involves reasoning and analysis,
argument construction, and the development
of innovative strategies. These abilities are used not only in advanced mathematics topics—such as algebra, geometry and calculus—
but also throughout the entire mathematics
curriculum beginning in kindergarten, as well as in subjects such as science. Moreover, these skills have a direct impact on students’ achievement scores, as many state and national standardized assessments and college entrance exams include problem solving. Therefore, the purpose of this study was the perception of in-service mathematics teachers enhancing students’ problem solving abilities in mathematics. Exploratory survey design and quantitative research method were used. All 102 in-service mathematics teachers were taken using purposive sampling where all teachers were taken from the in-service mathematics teachers of postgraduate diploma in teaching (PGDT) and master programs. The data was collected by a likert scale, and analyzed by mean, standard deviation, correlation, independent sample t-test, one-way ANOVA and MANOVA. The results were, most of the in-service mathematics teachers felt that they include both routine and non-routine problems, ensure that students understand the problem, consider students' knowledge of mathematical content when planning lessons, help them monitor and reflect, select visual representations that are appropriate for students and the problems they are solving, use think-aloud and discussions to teach students how to represent problems visually and show students how to convert the visually represented information into mathematical notation, provide instruction in multiple strategies, students to compare multiple strategies in worked examples, describe relevant mathematical concepts and notation, and relate them to the problem-solving activity, ask students to explain each step used to solve a problem in a worked example, and help them to make sense of algebraic notation.

Author Biography

Mulugeta Atnafu, Addis Ababa University, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Dr. Mulugeta Atnafu, PhD (Mathematics Education) is Associate Professor of Mathematics Education, Science & Mathematics Education, Addis Ababa University, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.




How to Cite

Atnafu, M. . (2021). In-service Mathematics Teachers’ Perceptions on Enhancing Students’ Problem Solving Abilities in Mathematics. Staff and Educational Development International, 21(1), 21-40. Retrieved from

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