Developing Connections Between Word Problems and Mathematical Equations


The objective of this project is to investigate the role of equation-solving skill within word-problem tutoring. Often, students spontaneously generate or are taught to use a math equation (e.g., 8 – __ = 5) to represent a word problem. Using equations within word-problem solving has proven particularly useful for elementary students with mathematics difficulty. Less, however, is known about the role of setting up and solving math equations in conjunction with word-problem solving. That is, does enhanced skill in solving math equations lead to improved word-problem performance? One instructional component that improves math equation solving is instruction on a relational definition of the equal sign.

The primary aim of this project is to determine whether students who receive equal-sign instruction embedded within word-problem tutoring demonstrate improved equation-solving performance, which in turn leads to improved word-problem performance.