A comparison of two instructional sequences in an intelligent tutoring program on multiplicative concepts and problem solving of students with mathematics difficulties

Joo Young Park, Purdue University


One of the crucial goals of the National Councils of Teachers Mathematics standards (2000) was to have all students, including students with mathematics difficulties (MD), to succeed in establishing a higher-order thinking in mathematic. However, there has been a lack of research on developing differentiated mathematics instructions necessary for students with MD to learn about multiplication concept. This study examines the differential effects of two instructional sequences taught in an intelligent tutor system that is designed to nurture students’ multiplicative concept to enhance their problem solving skills. A total of 18 third (n = 13) and fourth (n = 5) grade students with MD were assigned to one of the two treatment conditions (modules A-B-C-D-E and A-C-B-D-E) by switching the order of mixed unit coordination (MUC) task. A repeated measure ANOVA design involved achievement measures. The results indicate that both instructional sequences improved, from pretest to posttest, their performance on the MR criterion test and COMPS near-transfer test. However, the alternative instructional sequence was more efficient for students with MD to establish multiplicative concepts as they took less number of sessions to achieve the same level of word problem solving skills. The results of this study suggests that students with MD can be expected to establish conceptual understanding of multiplication and show better performance on their multiplicative word problem solving when instructional framework is tailored towards their needs.




Xin, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Special education

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