ERIC Number: ED251522
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1983
Reference Count: 0
Teaching Problem Solving Strategies to Bilingual Students: What Do Research Results Tell Us?
Mestre, Jose P.
Research indicates that Hispanic technical students exhibit patterns of performance in problem solving tasks that are clearly distinct from those exhibited by Anglo students. This may be because problem solvers working problems in a nonnative language are in more danger of misinterpreting problems due to sentence construction, jargon, etc., than native speakers. These conclusions come from studying the performance of a group of 60 bilingual Hispanic students and a control group of 73 nonminority Anglo students, most of whom were engineering majors. Often, Hispanic students misinterpreted problems, even when familiar with all the vocabulary words used in the problem. In these cases, students necessarily translated a problem into mathematical terminology incorrectly, but in a manner totally consistent with the misinterpretation. Furthermore, Hispanic students were at a disadvantage in solving problems with speed, as measured by the number of questions not reached due to time constraints. These findings suggest that Hispanics would benefit most from problem solving courses that emphasize speed and accuracy in translating a word problem into mathematical notation. (KH)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Inst. of Education (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Massachusetts Univ., Amherst.
Identifiers: Word Problems