Improving Mathematical Problem Solving in Grades 4 Through 8: A Practice Guide


Dr. John Woodward
Dr. Sybilla Beckmann
Dr. Mark Driscoll
Dr. Megan Franke
Ms. Patricia Herzig
Dr. Asha Jitendra
Dr. Kenneth R. Koedinger
Dr. Philip Ogbuehi
Author(s) Organizational Affiliation
What Works Clearinghouse (WWC)
Institute of Education Sciences (IES)
U.S. Department of Education
Publication Year
Resource Type
Number of Pages

This What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) practice guide provides five recommendations for improving students’ mathematical problem solving in grades 4 through 8. This guide is geared toward teachers, math coaches, other educators, and curriculum developers who want to improve the mathematical problem solving of students. The guide also includes implementation ideas and examples, summaries of supporting research, and solutions to common roadblocks.

Benefits and Uses
This practice guide, Improving Mathematical Problem Solving in Grades 4 Through 8, focuses on five research-based strategies for improving mathematical problem-solving skills. As outlined in Building on Foundations for Success: Guidelines for Improving Adult Mathematics Instruction, instructional content for adults with basic skills deficiencies should include activities that build foundational mathematical problem-solving skills. This particular practice guide would be useful to the teachers of the nearly 1 million adult learners who were served in adult basic education (ABE) classes in program year 2010-2011. In addition, this guide would be valuable to program administrators, professional developers, and state staff looking at instructional practices to improve low-level adult learners' mathematical problem-solving skills.
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