Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10497/15454
Title: The contributions of working memory and executive functioning to problem representation and solution generation in algebraic word problems
Authors: Lee, Kerry
Ng, Ee Lynn
Ng, Swee Fong
Keywords: Working memory
Algebra
Executive function
Reading comprehension
Word problems
Issue Date: May-2009
Citation: Lee, K., Ng, E. L., & Ng, S. F. (2009). The contributions of working memory and executive functioning to problem representation and solution generation in algebraic word problems. Journal of Educational Psychology, 101(2), 373-387.
Abstract: Solving algebraic word problems involves multiple cognitive phases. We used a multi-task approach to examine the extent to which working memory and executive functioning are associated with generating problem models and producing solutions. We tested 255 11-year-olds on working memory (Counting-Recall, Letter-Memory, Keep-Track), ability to inhibit inappropriate responses (inhibition: Numeric-Stroop, Stop-Signal), mental flexibility (switching: Number-Letter, Plus-Minus), English literacy, and algebraic problem solving skills (problem representation, solution generation and other sub-components). Working memory explained about a quarter of the variance in both representation and solution formation. Literacy explained an additional 20% of the variance in representation formation. Ability to discern quantitative relationships explained an additional 10%. Our findings go beyond a demonstration of association between working memory and problem solving accuracy. They show that success in word problems are particularly reliant on ability to decode and assign mathematical operators to quantitative relationships: skills that draw heavily on working memory resources.
Description: This is the original draft, prior to peer-review, of a manuscript published in Journal of Educational Psychology. The published version is available online at Journal of Educational Psychology, 101(2), 373-387, DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0013843
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10497/15454
ISSN: 0022-0663
Other Identifiers: 10.1037/a0013843
Appears in Collections:Journal Articles

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