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Reading comprehension and solving mathematical word problems

Natalija Lokar (2018) Reading comprehension and solving mathematical word problems. MSc thesis.

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    Abstract

    The master's thesis is about the causes of difficulties in solving mathematical word problems. The theoretical part begins with the presentation of specific properties of mathematical texts, which may cause problems in comprehending word problems. The theoretical part continues with classifications of mathematical word problems and important aspects of solving them (conditions for successful solving, types and frequency of difficulties, and teachers’ view on difficulties in solving mathematical word problems). Finally, we present some models and strategies for successful solving of mathematical word problems. The focus is on the traditional Mayer model and on one of the variants of cognitive strategy. The empirical part of the masters’ thesis consists of a multiple case study. In the first part of the study two 9th grade teachers were observed in their classroom regarding the methods and processes used in solving mathematical word problems. In the second part of the study the students of the two observed teachers solved three different tests. The tests results showed whether the main cause of possible difficulties in solving mathematical problems is bad reading comprehension, as teachers often emphasize, or is this just one of the causes. The obtained data from tests were interpreted with the observed teachers’ methods of teaching the solving of mathematical word problems. Regarding the first part of the case study it was found that both teachers did not emphasize enough careful reading and understanding of mathematical word problems. They rarely used reading strategies for better understanding and the related cognitive strategies, however they often made use of transformation strategies. Regarding the second part of the case study it was found that the main causes of difficulties in solving mathematical word problems are problems with transforming text of a word problem into algebraic equation. Some good readers as well as some poor readers had difficulties in transforming the text of a word problem into algebraic equation. Also students with difficulties with transforming text of a word problem into algebraic equation did not necessarily have problems with reading and reading comprehension.

    Item Type: Thesis (MSc thesis)
    Keywords: mathematical texts, reading comprehension, mathematical word problems, difficulties in solving mathematical word problems, strategies for solving mathematical word problems
    Number of Pages: 83
    Language of Content: Slovenian
    Mentor / Comentors:
    Mentor / ComentorsIDFunction
    doc. dr. Zlatan MagajnaMentor
    Link to COBISS: https://plus.si.cobiss.net/opac7/bib/peflj/12231753
    Institution: University of Ljubljana
    Department: Faculty of Education
    Item ID: 5492
    Date Deposited: 04 Dec 2018 14:01
    Last Modified: 04 Dec 2018 14:01
    URI: http://pefprints.pef.uni-lj.si/id/eprint/5492

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