Mathematical word problem solving in third-grade classrooms

Asha K. Jitendra, Edward Sczesniak, Cynthia C. Griffin, Andria Deatline-Buchman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Scopus citations


The authors conducted design or classroom experiments (R. Gersten, S. Baker, & J. W. Lloyd, 2000) at 2 sites (Pennsylvania and Florida) to test the effectiveness of schema-based instruction (SBI) prior to conducting formal experimental studies. Results of Study 1 conducted in 2 3rd-grade, low-ability classrooms and 1 special education class-room indicated mean score improvements from pretest to posttest on word problem solving and computation fluency measures. In addition, student perceptions of SBI according to a strategy satisfaction questionnaire revealed SBI as effective in helping solve word problems. Results of Study 2, which included a heterogeneous (high-, average-, and low-achieving) sample of 3rd graders, also revealed student improvement on the word problem solving and computation fluency measures. However, the outcomes were not as positive in Study 2 as in Study 1. Lessons learned from the 2 studies are discussed with regard to teaching and learning mathematical word problem solving for different groups of students.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)283-302
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Educational Research
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2007

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by Grant H324D010024 from the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs.


  • Elementary grade students
  • Mathematics instruction
  • Schema-based instruction
  • Word problem solving


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