Award Date

5-2011

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Special Education

Department

Special Education

First Committee Member

Susan P. Miller, Chair

Second Committee Member

Pamela Campbell

Third Committee Member

Kyle Higgins

Graduate Faculty Representative

Dick Tandy

Number of Pages

212

Abstract

Many students, specifically those with learning difficulties in mathematics, struggle when presented with word problems to solve. With this in mind, the purpose of this research was to examine the effects of the READER Strategyon word problem performance of students with mathematics disabilities and students who are at-risk to fail in mathematics. There were two parts to this research. Part One was implemented using a single-subject design (i.e., multiple-probe across participants) and Part Two was implemented using a group design (i.e., 2 x 4 factorial design). The single-subject design included three participants identified as having mathematics disabilities. There were two males (i.e., one Hispanic fifthgrader and one Black/African-American fifth grader) and one female (i.e., Hispanic fourthgrader). The group design included 21 participants who were receiving Tier 2 instruction within a Response-to-Intervention program (i.e., 11 thirdgraders in the treatment group and 10 thirdgraders in the comparison group). Of these 21 participants 2 were Asian, 2 were Biracial, 6 were Black, 9 were Hispanic, 1 was Pacific Islander, and 1 was White). The single-subject participants and the treatment group participants received 17 mathematics researcher-developed lessons that involved the use of a combined problem-solving strategy designed to assist students with mathematical word problems. The instructional method used in these lessons combined the use of teacher-directed explicit instruction, a graduated word problem sequence, schema-based diagrams, the concrete-representational-abstract sequence, and the use of a math word problem strategy (i.e., READER). The comparison group participants received 17 mathematics lessons from the standard school curricula for students receiving Tier 2 intervention within the Response-to-Intervention Program at the participating school. These lessons were designed to assist students with mathematical word problems and involved the use of teacher-directed explicit instruction, hands-on manipulative devices, student exploration, and whole group discussion and review. The Tier 2 intervention lessons presented to the comparison group were also scripted by the publisher to maintain fidelity of treatment. The results related to Part One of the research (i.e., single-subject design) revealed that students with mathematics disabilities improved their abilities to solve mathematical word problems after receiving the combined problem solving strategy (i.e., READER). The results related to Part Two of the research (i.e., group design) revealed similar findings. Students receiving Tier 2 intervention within a Response-to-Intervention program also improved their abilities to solve mathematical word problems. Additionally, those same students were able to maintain and generalize their abilities to solve mathematical word problems two weeks after receiving the intervention.

Keywords

Learning disabilities; Learning disability; Problem solving – Study and teaching (Elementary); Response-to-intervention; Strategy instruction; Tier 2; Word problems (Mathematics) – Study and teaching (Elementary)

Disciplines

Elementary Education and Teaching | Science and Mathematics Education | Special Education and Teaching

Language

English


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