High Intensity Program in Mathematical Problem Solving: An elementary school case study

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


Elementary Education

First Committee Member

Jack A. Coffland - Committee Chair


The purpose of the naturalistic study was to examine the implementation of selected aspects of the High Intensity Program in Mathematical Problem Solving by teachers and students in Kindergarten and grades one through five in an elementary school in southeastern Florida. The program was a staff development endeavor that emphasized three components: formal teacher education; demonstration teaching; and clinical supervision of instruction in the area of problem solving. The investigation provided a case study record of the program implementation process, including teachers' attitudes toward teaching mathematical problem solving and problem-solving skills of teachers and students.Thirty-four teachers and 237 students participated in the study during the 1987-1988 school year. The research methodology included a written, naturalistic case study journal of the school-wide implementation, surveys of teachers, and supporting teacher/student problem-solving and teacher attitude assessments. The content of the surveys was analyzed and reported using Glaser and Strauss's (1967) method of constant comparison.Based on information obtained through the case study journal and analysis of the supporting data, findings indicated that: (1) Teachers implemented the program in varying degrees, but reported spending more time on mathematical problem solving than in previous years. (2) By the end of the program, teachers reported higher level motivation and more enjoyment in teaching children to solve problems. (3) Teachers reported students were more willing to attempt to solve problems, more motivated to apply critical thinking skills, and more excited about problem solving. (4) Teachers expressed positive comments concerning the assistance received from the university instructors in the implementation of instructional strategies.Results of the attitude assessments indicated a decrease in anxiety for teachers from pretest to posttest. Results of the problem-solving assessments indicated no change in the teachers' performance from the beginning to the completion of the project. Students in Kindergarten and grades 1, 3, and 4 were found to perform at a significantly higher posttest score in a measure of problem-solving ability. Reported as part of the implementation, the results were not totally attributed to the program.


Education, Mathematics; Education, Elementary; Education, Teacher Training

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