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ERIC Number: EJ1173093
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2018-Apr
Pages: 53
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0002-8312
How Readability Factors Are Differentially Associated with Performance for Students of Different Backgrounds When Solving Mathematics Word Problems
Walkington, Candace; Clinton, Virginia; Shivraj, Pooja
American Educational Research Journal, v55 n2 p362-414 Apr 2018
The link between reading and mathematics achievement is well known, and an important question is whether readability factors in mathematics problems are differentially impacting student groups. Using 20 years of data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress and the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study, we examine how readability factors--such as length, word difficulty, and pronouns--interact with student background characteristics--such as race/ethnicity, mathematics achievement, and socioeconomic status. Textual features that make problems more difficult to process appear to differentially negatively impact struggling students, while features that make language easier to process appear to differentially positively impact struggling students. It is critical that readability along various dimensions be considered when designing instruction and assessment.
SAGE Publications. 2455 Teller Road, Thousand Oaks, CA 91320. Tel: 800-818-7243; Tel: 805-499-9774; Fax: 800-583-2665; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: National Science Foundation (NSF)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: National Assessment of Educational Progress; Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study
Grant or Contract Numbers: DRL0941014