Civil Engineering Students’ Problem-Solving Skills on Calculus-Based Problems

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Nelson S. Banos


The main goal of learning mathematics is to solve problems. In engineering, problem solving and mathematics are always together. The study investigated the civil engineering graduating students’ mathematics problem-solving skills, specifically their level of solving skills, common errors, and strategies in solving mathematics problems. Thirty-six graduating civil engineering students taking the correlation course in a private school in Baguio City were the study's respondents. Results showed that the students have below satisfactory level of problem-solving skills. Although the level is low, students, in general, are able to understand the problem and represent it in a mathematical equation. Furthermore, most of the students’ errors in solving the problems are attributed to the use of incomplete formulas, errors on signs, errors in differentiating equations, and other typographical errors. Common students’ solving strategies involved remodeling, using a diagram, and using and deriving a formula. The study recommends programs to help students recall and practice mathematics concepts, especially calculus problems, such as retention programs, review classes, and other similar activities. If possible, students are encouraged to usea geometric representation or diagram when solving mathematical problems.

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