Improving Mathematical Problem Solving in Grades 4 through 8

Organization: Institute of Education Sciences (IES), What Works Clearinghouse (WCC)

The goal of this practice guide is to offer educators specific, evidence-based recommendations that address the challenge of improving mathematical problem solving in grades 4 through 8. The guide provides practical, clear information on critical topics related to improving mathematical problem solving and is based on the best available evidence as judged by the authors. This practice guide provides five recommendations for improving students’ mathematical problem solving in grades 4 through 8: 1. Prepare problems and use them in whole-class instruction. 2. Assist students in monitoring and reflecting on the problem-solving process. 3. Teach students how to use visual representations. 4. Expose students to multiple problem-solving strategies. 5. Help students recognize and articulate mathematical concepts and notation.

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