Collaborative Research: Classroom Practices that Lead to Student Proficiency with Word Problems in Algebra

Principal Investigator: 
Project Overview
Background & Purpose: 

We propose to explore the following two questions: (1) What instructional practices are frequently used by teachers judged to be doing an exceptional job of helping students to develop proficiency in solving word problems? and (2) What analytic procedures can be developed and used to characterize these promising teaching practices, with low enough cost so that connections between teaching and learning can be examined for a large number of classrooms?


This is a comparative study designed to generate descriptive [case study, observational] and associative or correlational [analytic essay, interpretive commentary] evidence. This project collects original data through school records or policy documents; assessments of learning, achievement tests, observation [personal observation, videography] survey research [self-completion questionnaire, semi-structured or informal interviews].

Research Design: 

We will be coding videotaped examples of teaching, looking for instances of productive pedagogical practices, and then seeking to relate the classroom practices to student performance.


This project has not yet generated findings.

Publications & Presentations: 

The project presented initial results at PME-NA in Columbus, Ohio in October 2010 and at AMTE in Irvine, CA in January 2011. We will be presenting at AERA in New Orleans in April.

Other Products: 

This project expects to generate coding schemes that can be applied elsewhere. Preliminary versions of the coding schemes are being field tested.