Solving Equations with Parameters


This study examines how high school pupils and student teachers tackle equations that are presented in various ways. Some presentations are non-standard, for example having to express “a” (usually perceived as a parameter) in terms of “x” (usually perceived as a variable). We investigate how subjects solve those equations as well as the differences between pupils and student teachers.Our findings suggest that equations containing parameters are more difficult to solve than equations without parameters. The difficulties are associated with the letters that should be expressed and in the arrangement of the equation. The results of this study may expand the knowledge of teachers on the subject of equations with parameters and on the specific difficulties encountered by students during the solution process.

Share and Cite:

Ilany, B. and Hassidov, D. (2014) Solving Equations with Parameters. Creative Education, 5, 963-968. doi: 10.4236/ce.2014.511110.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] Almog, N., & Ilany, B.-S. (2012). Absolute Value Inequalities: High School Students’ Solutions and Misconceptions. Educational Studies in Mathematics, 81, 347-364.
[2] Davis, R. B., & Henkin, L. (1978). Inadequately Tested Aspects of Mathematics Learning—Testing, Teaching and Learning. Report of a Conference on Research on Testing, National Institute of Education, 49-63.
[3] Fischbein, E., & Muzicant, B. (2002). Richard Skemp and His Conception of Relational and Instrumental Understanding: Open Sentences and Open Phrases. In D. Tall, & M. Thomas (Eds.), Intelligence, Learning and Understanding in Mathematics: A Tribute to Richard Skemp (pp. 49-77). Flaxton, QLD: Post Pressed Publishers.
[4] Ilany, B. (1998). The Elusive Parameter. In The 23rd Annual Meeting of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education (Vol. 4, p. 265). Stellenbosch: University of Stellenbosch.
[5] Ilany, B. (1997). The Concepts of Variable and Parameter of Pre-Service Teachers and High School Students. Doctoral Dissertation, Tel Aviv: Tel Aviv University. (in Hebrew)
[6] Kieran, C. (1992). The Learning and Teaching of School Algebra. In D. A. Grouws (Ed.), Handbook of Research on Mathematics Teaching and Learning (pp. 390-419).
[7] Kieran, C. (2014). Algebra Teaching and Learning. Encyclopedia of Mathematics Education (pp. 27-32). Springer: Springer Reference.
[8] Sedivy, J. (1976). A Note on the Role of Parameters in Mathematics Teaching. Educational Studies in Mathematics, 7, 121-126.
[9] Skemp, R. (1987). The Psychology of Learning Mathematics. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Copyright © 2023 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.