Facilitating students in solving word problems in Mathematics

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Education (M. Ed.)


Institute for Educational Development, Karachi


Word problems are an integral part of the mathematics curriculum in Pakistan and elsewhere in the world. However, most of the students around the globe do not have a good experience of learning word problems. Students usually face difficulties while solving word problems. Teachers make less efforts to help students comprehend the problems rather they just memorize solved word problems which they forget after some time. Students usually do not attempt word problems in the examinations.
This research explored how to help grade 6 students in solving mathematical word problems in a meaningful way. The finding in this dissertation is based on qualitative action research using the constructivist paradigm. There were eight grade 6 students and a mathematics teacher from a private school in Gilgit, Pakistan. They were selected randomly from a class of 36 students keeping in mind the availability and accessibility. The data was collected through pre and post interviews and group discussions, reflections on three action cycles including nine lessons having three lessons in each cycle, and students' work samples. Each lesson was conducted online and recorded through the Zoom link. The data generated from each session were analyzed for further design actions to improve students’ ability to solve word problem.
The findings reveal that students at the elementary school level, generally face difficulties in making sense of numerical terms given in the form of a story or in the form of the statement. The study explored that the elements impacting word problems’ difficulty categorized into three parts, the mismatch between children's home language and language of instruction, not helping students to design appropriate strategies of solving word problems: and not creating connections between the word problems with real life. The study highlighted the need for professional development for the teachers to develop their pedagogical practices to help students solve word problems.

This document is available in the relevant AKU library