Association of Ambiguity Tolerance and Problem-solving Ability of Students in Mathematics


  • Mabel Buela Assistant Professor 1, University of the Philippines Los Baños, Los Baños, Laguna 4031, Philippines
  • Ma. Nympha Joaquin Professor 1, University of the Philippines Diliman, Diliman, Quezon City 1101, Philippines
  • Nancy Tandang Assistant Professor 6, University of the Philippines Los Baños, Los Baños, Laguna 4031, Philippines
  • Abriel Bulasag Assistant Professor 1, University of the Philippines Los Baños, Los Baños, Laguna 4031, Philippines


ambiguity tolerance, non-routine word problems, problem-solving ability


Development of problem-solving ability among students is one of the main goals of mathematics education.  This study investigated the association between student ambiguity tolerance and their problem-solving ability in mathematics. It also sought to determine whether or not a student’s reaction to unfamiliar or uncertain stimuli influences their ability to solve non-routine word problems. A total of 182 junior high school students participated in this study. Two instruments, namely: McLain Multiple Stimulus Types Ambiguity Tolerance (MSTAT-II) Scale and a problem-solving ability test were considered in this study. Both tests were subjected to validity and reliability analyses. Results showed that ambiguity tolerance and problem-solving ability have a moderate positive association. Further, ambiguity tolerance was found to be a significant determinant of the problem-solving ability in mathematics of a student. A detailed analysis of student solutions and empirical evidences suggest that the use of open-ended problems be employed across various subject matters in mathematics to develop not only problem-solving skills but critical and logical reasoning as well as creativity among students. 


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How to Cite

Buela, M. ., Joaquin, M. N. ., Tandang, N. ., & Bulasag, A. . (2020). Association of Ambiguity Tolerance and Problem-solving Ability of Students in Mathematics. International Journal of Sciences: Basic and Applied Research (IJSBAR), 51(1), 12–24. Retrieved from