ERIC Number: EJ1035717
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014-Aug
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
Does Early Algebraic Reasoning Differ as a Function of Students' Difficulty with Calculations versus Word Problems?
Powell, Sarah R.; Fuchs, Lynn S.
Learning Disabilities Research & Practice, v29 n3 p106-116 Aug 2014
According to national mathematics standards, algebra instruction should begin at kindergarten and continue through elementary school. Most often, teachers address algebra in the elementary grades with problems related to solving equations or understanding functions. With 789 second-grade students, we administered: (1) measures of calculations and word problems in the fall and (2) an assessment of prealgebraic reasoning, with items that assessed solving equations and functions, in the spring. Based on the calculation and word-problem measures, we placed 148 students into one of four difficulty status categories: typically performing, calculation difficulty, word-problem difficulty, or difficulty with calculations and word problems. Analyses of variance were conducted on the 148 students; path analytic mediation analyses were conducted on the larger sample of 789 students. Across analyses, results corroborated the finding that word-problem difficulty is more strongly associated with difficulty with prealgebraic reasoning. As an indicator of later algebra difficulty, word-problem difficulty may be a more useful predictor than calculation difficulty, and students with word-problem difficulty may require a different level of algebraic reasoning intervention than students with calculation difficulty.
Descriptors: Algebra, Mathematics Instruction, Grade 2, Elementary School Students, Elementary School Mathematics, Equations (Mathematics), Problem Solving, Mathematical Logic, Computation, Word Problems (Mathematics), Statistical Analysis, Difficulty Level, Predictor Variables
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Grade 2; Primary Education; Elementary Education; Early Childhood Education
Sponsor: National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NIH)
Authoring Institution: N/A
IES Grant or Contract Numbers: R01HD059179