When solving word problems, many children encounter difficulties in making sense of the information and integrate it into a meaningful schema. This is the fundamental phase on which subsequent problem solution depends. To better understand the processing underlying this fundamental phase, this study examined the roles of schema construction and knowledge of mathematical vocabularies in word problem solving. The participants were 139 Chinese third graders studying in Hong Kong. Path analysis showed that there were two kinds of pathways to word problem solving: language-related and number-related. In particular, reading fluency was related to word problem solving in two mediated language-related pathways: one via schema construction, the other via knowledge of mathematical vocabularies. In the number-related pathway, arithmetic concept was related to word problem solving via knowledge of mathematical vocabularies. These findings highlight the specific roles of schema construction and mathematical vocabulary in word problem solving, thereby providing useful implications of how best to support children in understanding and integrating the information from the problem. Copyright © 2021 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
CitationChan, W. W. L., & Kwan, J. L. Y. (2021). Pathways to word problem solving: The mediating roles of schema construction and mathematical vocabulary. Contemporary Educational Psychology. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1016/j.cedpsych.2021.101963
- Word problems