Component processes in arithmetic word-problem solving and their correlates

Tin Yau Terry WONG, Suk Han Connie HO

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


Arithmetic word-problem solving is an important component of elementary mathematics curricula that links school mathematics to real-life problem solving. The present 3-year longitudinal study examined children’s arithmetic word-problem solving through understanding its 2 component processes: numbersentence construction and computation. Chinese first graders (n 153) were tested on their arithmetic word-problem solving, in which they wrote down the number sentences before they solved the problems. They were also given a parallel test of arithmetic computation. Various cognitive predictors and mathematical outcomes were assessed. It was found that the children’s difficulty in solving arithmetic word problems lay more with writing number sentences rather than in computation. The results from path analysis showed that word reading and various numerical-magnitude processing and domain-general skills significantly predicted arithmetic computation whereas only domain-general skills significantly predicted number-sentence construction. Both number-sentence construction and computation significantly predicted future arithmetic computation and mathematics achievement even after controlling for previous arithmetic computation. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed. Copyright © 2016 American Psychological Association.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)520-531
JournalJournal of Educational Psychology
Issue number4
Early online dateSept 2016
Publication statusPublished - May 2017


Wong, T. T.-Y., & Ho, C. S.-H. (2017). Component processes in arithmetic word-problem solving and their correlates. Journal of Educational Psychology, 109(4), 520-531.


  • Arithmetic word-problem solving
  • Number-sentence construction
  • Computation


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