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Asha K. Jitendra ( University of Minnesota ) Jon R. Star ( Harvard University )

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## Asha K. Jitendra ( University of Minnesota ) Jon R. Star ( Harvard University )

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Asha K. Jitendra (University of Minnesota)

Jon R. Star (Harvard University)

Improving Ratio and Proportion Problem Solving Performance of Seventh Grade Students Using Schema-Based Instruction

Kristin Starosta, Grace Caskie, Jayne Leh, Sheetal Sood, Cheyenne Hughes, and Toshi Mack (Lehigh University)

Poster Presented at the Annual International Academy for Research in Learning Disabilities

June 20, 2008

Toronto, Canada

The present study evaluated the effectiveness of schema-based instruction with self-monitoring (SBI-SM). Specifically, SBI-SM emphasizes the role of the mathematical structure of problems and also provides students with a heuristic to aid and self-monitor problem solving. Further, SBI-SM addresses well-articulated problem solving strategies and supports flexible use of the strategies based on the problem situation. One hundred forty eight seventh-grade students and their teachers participated in a 10-day intervention on learning to solve ratio and proportion word problems, with random assignment to SBI-SM or a business-as-usual control. Results indicated that students in SBI-SM treatment classes made greater gains than students in control classes on a problem solving measure, both at posttest and on a delayed posttest administered four months later. However, the two groups’ performance was comparable on a state standardized mathematics achievement test.

2

Study Background

Converging evidence suggests that explicit schema training using visual representations improves students’ problem solving performance

(Fuchs, Seethaler, Powell, Fuchs, Hamlett, Fletcher, 2008; Fuson & Willis, 1989; Griffin & Jitendra, in press; Jitendra, DiPipi, & Perron-Jones, 2001; Jitendra, Griffin, Deatline-Buchman, & Sczesniak, 2007; Jitendra, Griffin, Haria, Leh, Adams, & Kaduvetoor, 2007; Jitendra, Griffin, McGoey, Gardill, Bhat, & Riley, 1998; Jitendra & Hoff, 1993; Jitendra, Hoff, & Beck, 1999; Lewis, 1989; Willis & Fuson, 1988; Xin, Jitendra, & Deatline-Buchman, 2005; Zawaiza & Gerber, 1993).

- Prior work on schema-based instruction (SBI) by Jitendra and colleagues suggested to us three conclusions:
- Focus on students with disabilities and low achieving students
- Emphasis exclusively on word problem solving rather than also addressing the foundational concepts (e.g., ratios, equivalent fractions, rates, fraction and percents) in ratio and proportion problem solving, for example.
- Multiple solution strategies and flexible application of those strategies are not considered

3

Our Approach

Schema-Based Instruction with Self-Monitoring

Translate problem features into a coherent representation of the problem’s mathematical structure, using schematic diagrams

Apply a problem-solving heuristic which guides both translation and solution processes

Focus on multiple solution strategies and flexible application of those strategies

4

1. Find the problem type

Read and retell problem to understand it

The ratio of the number of girls to the total number of children in Ms. Robinson’s class is 2:5. The number of girls in the class is 12. How many children are in the class?

- Ask self if this is a ratio problem

- Ask self if problem is similar or different from
- others that have been seen before

5

2. Organize the information

Underline the ratio or comparison sentence and write ratio value in diagram

Write compared and base quantities in diagram

Write an x for what must be solved

The ratio of the number of girls to the total number of children in Ms. Robinson’s class is 2:5. The number of girls in the class is 12. How many children are in the class?

6

3. Plan to solve the problem

Translate information in the diagram into a math equation

- Plan how to solve the equation

8

Problem solving strategies

B. Equivalent fractions strategy

“7 times what is 28? Since the answer is 4 (7 * 4 = 28), we multiply 5 by this same number to get x. So 4 * 5 = 20.”

10

Problem solving strategies

C. Unit rate strategy

“2 multiplied by what is 24? Since the answer is 12 (2 * 12 = 24), you then multiply 3 * 12 to get x. So 3 * 12 = 36.”

11

4. Solve the problem

Solve the math equation and write the complete answer

Check to see if the answer makes sense

12

Research Questions

What are the differential effects of SBI-SM and “business as usual” treatment on the acquisition of seventh grade students’ ratio and proportion word problem solving ability?

Is there a differential effect of the treatment (SBI-SM and business as usual) on the maintenance of problem solving performance four months following the end of intervention

Do the effects of the treatment transfer to performance on state wide mathematics assessment?

13

Participants

148 7th grade students (79 girls), in 8 classrooms, in one urban public middle school

54% Caucasian, 22% Hispanic, 22% African American

42% Free/reduced lunch

15% receiving special education services

14

Teachers

6 teachers (3 female)

(All 7th grade teachers in the school)

8.6 years experience (range 2 to 28 years)

Text: Glencoe Mathematics: Applications and Concepts, Course 2

Intervention replaced normal instruction on ratio and proportion

15

Design

Pretest-intervention-posttest-delayed posttest with random assignment to condition by class

Four “tracks” - Advanced, High, Average, Low*

*Referred to in the school as Honors, Academic, Applied, and Essential

16

Professional development

SBI-SM teachers received one full day of PD immediately prior to unit and were also provided with on-going support during the study

Understanding ratio and proportion problems

Introduction to the SBI-SM approach

Detailed examination of lessons

Control teachers received 1/2 day PD

Implementing standard curriculum on ratio/proportion

18

Treatment fidelity

Treatment fidelity checked for all lessons

Mean treatment fidelity across lessons for intervention teachers was 79.78% (range = 60% to 99%)

19

Outcome measure

Mathematical problem-solving (PS) test

18 items from TIMSS, NAEP, and state assessments

Cronbach’s alpha (0.73, 0.78, and 0.83 for the pretest, posttest, and delayed posttest)

Mathematics subtest of the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA).

Cronbach’s alpha > 0.90

20

Results

SBI-SM and control classes did not differ

Scores in each track significantly differed as expected:

High > Average > Low

No interaction

On the PSSA posttest:

22

Conclusion

SBI-SM led to significant gains in problem-solving skills

The benefits of SBI-SM persisted four months after the intervention

The effects for SBI-SM were not mediated by ability level, suggesting that it may benefit a wide range of students

The SBI-SM treatment did not show an advantage over the control treatment on the statewide mathematics test (possibly due to the short-term intervention)

23

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