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ERIC Number: EJ884842
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-May
Pages: 14
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 49
ISSN: ISSN-0022-0663
Contribution of Equal-Sign Instruction beyond Word-Problem Tutoring for Third-Grade Students with Mathematics Difficulty
Powell, Sarah R.; Fuchs, Lynn S.
Journal of Educational Psychology, v102 n2 p381-394 May 2010
Elementary school students often misinterpret the equal sign (=) as an operational rather than a relational symbol. Such misunderstanding is problematic because solving equations with missing numbers may be important for the development of higher order mathematics skills, including solving word problems. Research indicates equal-sign instruction can alter how typically developing students use the equal sign, but no study has been conducted on the effects of such instruction for students with mathematics difficulty (MD) or how equal-sign instruction contributes to word-problem-solving skill for students with or without MD. In the present study, the authors assessed the efficacy of equal-sign instruction within word-problem tutoring. Third-grade students with MD (n = 80) were assigned to word-problem tutoring, word-problem tutoring plus equal-sign instruction (combined) tutoring, or no-tutoring control. Combined tutoring produced greater improvement on equal sign tasks and open equations than did the other 2 conditions. On certain forms of word problems, combined tutoring, but not word-problem tutoring alone, produced more improvement than did the control condition. When compared at posttest with 3rd-grade students without MD on equal-sign tasks and open equations, only combined tutoring students with MD performed comparably. (Contains 5 tables and 2 footnotes.)
American Psychological Association. Journals Department, 750 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20002-4242. Tel: 800-374-2721; Tel: 202-336-5510; Fax: 202-336-5502; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Education; Grade 3
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: Iowa Tests of Basic Skills; Wide Range Achievement Test