Student Co-author

CGU Graduate

Document Type

Book Chapter


Behavioral and Organizational Sciences (CGU)

Publication Date



Cognitive Psychology | Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences


Algebra word problems have been a source of consternation to generations of students. Recent cognitive analyses of problem solving have provided a new perspective on the mental processes involved in solving problems. In the study reported in this chapter, a set of algebra word problems was analyzed in terms of the information integration tasks that are required to solve the problems. A comparison of beginning an advanced high school students on their strategies and skills with algebra word problems demonstrated the advantages experts have in recognizing and using the overall structure of problems to guide them to a solution. Instruction that focuses on the structure of the problems was successful in improving performance of group of novices, although generalization to a related problem was limited. The current study and similar analyses of the cognitive operations involved in problem solving point the way to instructional strategies that can be applied by teachers and designers of instructional materials.


Copyright © 1987 From Applications of Cognitive Psychology: Problem solving, education, and computing by Berger, D. E., Pezdek, K., & Banks, W. P. (Eds.). Reproduced by permission of Taylor and Francis Group, LLC, a division of Informa plc.

Rights Information

© 1987 Taylor and Francis Group, LLC, a division of Informa plc.