Do word-problem features differentially affect problem difficulty as a function of students' mathematics difficulty with and without reading difficulty?



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Journal of Learning Disabilities


This study examined whether and, if so, how word-problem features differentially affect problem difficulty as a function of mathematics difficulty (MD) status: no MD (n = 109), MD only (n = 109), or MD in combination with reading difficulties (MDRD; n = 109). The problem features were problem type (total, difference, or change) and position of missing information in the number sentence representing the word problem (first, second, or third position). Students were assessed on 14 word problems near the beginning of third grade. Consistent with the hypothesis that mathematical cognition differs as a function of MD subtype, problem type affected problem difficulty differentially for MDRD versus MD-only students; however, the position of missing information in word problems did not. Implications for MD subtyping and for instruction are discussed.



Problem solving, Mathematics, Quantitative research method, Discalculia


Copyright 2009 Journal of Learning Disabilities. This is a post-print version of a published paper that is available at: Recommended citation: Powell, Sarah R., Lynn S. Fuchs, Douglas Fuchs, Paul T. Cirino, and Jack M. Fletcher. "Do Word-Problem Features Differentially Affect Problem Difficulty as a Function of Students' Mathematics Difficulty With and Without Reading Difficulty?" Journal of Learning Disabilities 42, no. 2 (2009): 99-110. doi: 10.1177/0022219408326211. This item has been deposited in accordance with publisher copyright and licensing terms and with the author's permission.