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ERIC Number: EJ835039
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-May
Pages: 15
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 56
ISSN: ISSN-0022-0663
The Contributions of Working Memory and Executive Functioning to Problem Representation and Solution Generation in Algebraic Word Problems
Lee, Kerry; Ng, Ee Lynn; Ng, Swee Fong
Journal of Educational Psychology, v101 n2 p373-387 May 2009
Solving algebraic word problems involves multiple cognitive phases. The authors used a multitask approach to examine the extent to which working memory and executive functioning are associated with generating problem models and producing solutions. They tested 255 11-year-olds on working memory (Counting Recall, Letter Memory, and Keep Track), ability to inhibit inappropriate responses (inhibition: numeric Stroop, Stop Signal), mental flexibility (switching: Number-Letter and Plus-Minus), English literacy, and algebraic problem-solving skills (problem representation, solution generation, and other subcomponents). Working memory explained about a quarter of the variance in both representation and solution formation. Literacy explained an additional 20% of the variance in representation formation. Ability to discern quantitative relationships explained an additional 10%. The findings go beyond a demonstration of an association between working memory and problem-solving accuracy. They show that success in word problems is particularly reliant on ability to decode and assign mathematical operators to quantitative relationships, 2 phases of problem solving that also draw heavily on working memory resources. (Contains 3 tables and 2 figures.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Singapore
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children