The Study of Effective Strategies for Supporting Children with Mathematical Difficulties

Project Number
SUG 10/16 LLS

Project Duration
November 2016 - March 2018


The introduction to word problem solving teaches pupils the foundation skills in problem solving. There are pupils who experience difficulties with word problems in the mainstream classroom, particularly pupils with difficulties in mathematics. They are likely to experience challenges in word problems as word problem solving involves multiple skills and various strategies. This project aims to study the effectiveness of strategies which could help these pupils improve their word problem skills. In the review of the literature on instructional strategies for helping pupils with learning difficulties in mathematics, specifically in word problem solving, schema based instruction showed that it had a significant impact on improving pupils’ problem solving skills. The schema based instruction is based on the schema theory which categorises information based on some common characteristics. The word problems can be categorised into one of the 3 groups – change, combine or comparison. After learning the common characteristics of the word problems and the group (change, combine and compare) they belong, the next step will be the translation of the word problem to the visual representation using schema diagram. In the Singapore mathematics curriculum, bar model drawing is one of the approaches to help students in word problem solving. Similar to the use of schema diagram, the model drawing is a form of visual representation of the word problem. This study proposes to integrate 2 strategies - schema based instruction and bar model drawing for Primary 3 pupils who have difficulties in mathematics, particularly word problems. To find out the effectiveness of the instructional strategies, the study will be conducted using the single subject research design.

Funding Source

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