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Improving Mathematical Problem Solving in Grades 4 Through 8

Abstract

"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.

Each recommendation includes implementation steps and solutions for common roadblocks. The recommendations also summarize and rate supporting evidence. Supporting evidence is drawn form a range of literature, from rigorous experimental studies to expert reviews of practices and strategies in mathematics education. Evidence ratings reflect the degree to which each recommendation is supported by high-quality experimental and quasi-experimental design studies that meet WWC standards. This guide is for teachers, math coaches, other educators, and curriculum developers who want to improve the mathematical problem solving of students."

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