Publication Date




Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)


Teaching and Learning (Education)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Jennifer L. Krawec

Second Committee Member

Batya E. Elbaum

Third Committee Member

Elizabeth Harry

Fourth Committee Member

Grant Gautreaux


In third grade, with the introduction of high-stakes testing, the focus on math word-problems becomes prominent. However, intervention research on solving word problems has concentrated on the higher grades. While some of these strategies are valuable, developmental and curricular modifications are needed for third graders. In research where this has been recognized, teacher-mediated explicit instruction with multiple exemplars, teaching students to use visual representations, and the incorporation of self-strategies, have proven effective. However, for these practices to reach their full potential, their content must be relevant and provide for growth to more mature mathematical concepts. Based on these conclusions, additional research was needed to investigate intervention packages which adhere to these practices. Therefore, the focus of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of a multicomponent word problem-solving intervention that used explicit instruction strategies with multiple exemplars, taught the use of student-generated visual representations, incorporated a self-monitoring checklist, and targeted Common Core State Standards’ appropriate curriculum (i.e., all four operations, measurement, estimation of time, masses of objects, and geometric measurement). Using a multiple baseline across behaviors design, the study evaluated the paraphrasing, visualizing, and computing word problem-solving responses of 10 third-graders identified as LD, at-risk, and/or ESOL. The study revealed that all students made gains in some behaviors related to problem solving (paraphrasing, visualizing, and computation accuracy). Results are discussed in relation to a cognitive-behavioral framework and individual student characteristics, including discussions of limitations and educational significance.


Problem solving; Mathematics; LD; ESOL; At-Risk; Cognitive-Behavioral