EFFECTS OF TWO INSTRUCTIONAL STRATEGIES ON SOLVING ALGEBRA WORD PROBLEMS OF REMEDIAL COLLEGE STUDENTS (READING, APTITUDE)
The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of two instructional strategies on algebra word problem solving performance of remedial mathematics students, at two levels of reading ability. The first was the direct translation with the use of diagrams and the second was the schema method.
The study utilized randomized block design using reading as the blocking variable. The 120 subjects were selected from 277 students enrolled in a basic algebra course at the University of Turabo in Puerto Rico.
Potential subjects were classified as poor and average readers according to the scores obtained in a reading test. Treatments groups were assigned randomly to class sections and students were assigned according to their class sections to one of the four subgroups. Each treatment consisted of four units, each lasted one week.
Researcher designed pretest and posttest were used to measure problem solving performance. A two-way analysis of covariance with pretest and aptitude in algebra as covariates was used to test the hypotheses. Results of the study were: (1) that there was no significant differences between treatments groups; (2) there was a significant difference between reading levels; and (3) there was no significant interaction between treatment conditions and reading level.
It was concluded that (1) any of the two strategies can be successfully employed to improve algebra word problem solving of remedial mathematics college students; (2) Poor readers understood and processed the problems better than were the average readers; and (3) there was no interactive effects between treatment groups and reading level.
As implications of the study the investigator pointed out that: (1) when teaching remedial mathematics college students to solve algebra word problems, instructors may use either of the two techniques or a combination of both; (2) math teachers must accept the responsibility for teaching students to read math; (3) Math teachers need to identify poor problem solvers who also have poor reading skills and provide suitable materials.