Restricted Access Thesis
English Language Learners (ELLs) are required to achieve the same scores on high-stakes mathematics assessments as their native English-speaking peers. Word problems make up a large portion of these tests, requiring students to develop problem-solving skills and advanced language skills. Often mathematics instruction consists of problem-solving strategies and hands-on tasks but few of these strategies have been analyzed for their effectiveness with ELLs. In this study, I test Polya's problem-solving strategy with middle-school ELLs to determine its effects on their written and oral communication as they solve word problems. The participants were asked to talk about their mathematical thinking as they solved a series of word problems. The findings showed that the use of Polya's problem-solving plan improves ELLs' fluency when speaking about word problems. They also showed that ELLs are in need of further vocabulary and concept instruction so they can more effectively use Polya's problem-solving plan.
Bowman, Erin McCarthy, "Evaluating word problems using Polya's problem-solving strategy: determining its effects on an English language learner's written and oral communication" (2010). School of Education Student Capstones and Dissertations. 416.