Cañadas, M. C., Molina, M. y Del Rio, A. (2018). Meanings given to algebraic symbolism in problem posing. Educational Studies in Mathematics, 98(33), 19-37.
Some errors in the learning of algebra suggest students have difficulties giving meaning to algebraic symbolism. In this paper, we use problem posing in order to analyze the students’ capacity to assign meaning to algebraic symbolism and the difficulties that students encounter in this process depending on the characteristics of the algebraic statements given. We designed a written questionnaire composed of eight closed algebraic statements expressed symbolically, which was administered to 55 students who had finished their compulsory education and that had some previous experience in problem posing. In our analysis of the data, we examine both syntactic and semantic structures of the problem posed. We note that in most cases students posed problems with syntactic structures different to those given. They did not include computations within variables, and changed the kinds of relationships connecting variables. Students easily posed problems for statements with additive structures. Other differences in the type of problems posed depend on the characteristics of the given statements.