Effects of Intervention on Word-Problem Language Features of Grade 3 Students With Math Difficulty


Word problems require students to read a language-based problem, identify necessary information to answer a prompt, and perform calculation(s) to develop a problem solution. Solving word problems proves particularly challenging for students with mathematics difficulties because skill in reading, interpretation of language, and mathematics are required for word-problem proficiency. The authors examined whether two versions of a word-problem intervention increased students’ understanding of three word-problem language features: naming a superordinate category, identifying irrelevant information, and providing a word-problem label. At pretest and posttest, 145 third-grade students solved word problems and answered questions about word-problem language. Students who participated in the word-problem interventions demonstrated improvement on identifying irrelevant information and providing word-problem labels over students in the business-as-usual condition. The authors did not identify group differences related to naming a superordinate category. These results suggest the importance of explicit teaching of language comprehension features within word-problem intervention.


Powell, S. R., Stevens, E. A., & Berry, K. A. (2019). Effects of a word-problem intervention on word-problem language features for third-grade students with mathematics difficulty. Learning Disabilities: A Multidisciplinary Journal, 24(2), 1–14. doi:10.18666/LDMJ-2019-V24-I2-9835