The effectiveness of concrete-representational-abstract integration framework within word-problem solving for students experiencing mathematics difficulty

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With my dissertation project, I investigated the efficacy of concrete-representational-abstract integration (CRA-I) framework alongside word-problem solving (WPS) schema instruction (i.e., CRA-I-Schema instruction) to teach WPS to students with mathematics difficulty (MD). I investigated whether participation in the CRA-I-Schema instruction leaded to improved WPS performance as compared to participation in Schema-Alone control condition (i.e., students only received schema instruction in WPS). I randomly assigned, blocking by grade level, 10 students to the CRA-I-Schema instruction condition and 12 students to the Schema-Alone condition. The intervention occurred 25 min per session for three to four sessions per week for 10 sessions. Results indicated the CRA-I-Schema instruction had a greater impact on students’ Understanding of Word Problems (g = 0.74), Word-Problem Solving performance (g = 0.56), and Addition Facts (g = 0.58) relative to Schema-Alone students. Further, the pretest of Understanding of Word Problems significantly moderated the impact of the CRA-I-Schema instruction. Findings of a social validity survey revealed that the CRA-I-Schema instruction was satisfying and effective for the students. These results indicated that 1) conceptual understanding of WPS could significantly impact students’ WPS performance; 2) integrating a CRA-I approach into WPS instructional strategies could benefit students’ WPS performance; 3) it is imperative to account for the diverse range of students’ needs when implementing the CRA-I-Schema instruction in classroom.


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