Master of Science (MS)
Semester of Degree Completion
Gail J. Richard
While previous research has established language as a component of mathematical performance (Kintsch, 1988; Simon, 1985), none have identified a relationship between language and mathematics. This study was conducted to examine the relationships between language and mathematical abilities, specifically problem solving abilities and concept knowledge.
The subjects consisted of 29 fifth-grade students selected from an elementary school in central Illinois. These students were not receiving special education services. Each subject was administered the Test of Problem Solving (Zachman, et al., 1984) to assess the subjects' ability to utilize reasoning skills and expressive language to solve situational problems; and The WORD Test-R (Elementary) (Huisingh, et al., 1990) to assess the subjects' ability to identify and express important semantic elements of their lexicon, such as synonyms and multiple meaning words. To assess mathematical problem solving abilities and mathematical concept knowledge, scores were obtained from the "Mathematical Problem Solving" and "Mathematical Concepts" subtests of the subjects' Iowa Tests of Basic Skills.
Results of testing revealed several significant positive relationships. First, a significant relationship was found between linguistic problem solving abilities and linguistic concept knowledge. In addition, a significant correlation was found between mathematical problem solving abilities and mathematical concept knowledge. Linguistic concept knowledge was also found to be significantly related to both mathematical problem solving abilities and mathematical concept knowledge. However, linguistic problem solving abilities were not found to be significantly correlated with either mathematical problem solving abilities or mathematical concept knowledge.
These findings suggest that the linguistic conceptual knowledge evaluated on The WORD Test-R (Elementary) (Huisingh, et al., 1990) has a strong positive relationship with mathematical performance. In addition, results signified that linguistic concept knowledge is a reliable indicator of performance in the areas of linguistic problem solving, mathematical problem solving, and mathematical concept knowledge.
Grant, Heather A., "Investigation of the Relationship Between Language & Mathematics in Regards to Problem Solving" (1995). Masters Theses. 2021.