Young Filipino students making sense of arithmetic word problems in English

Debbie Bautista, Joanne Mulligan, Michael Mitchelmore

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Young Filipino children are expected to solve mathematical word problems in English, a task which they typically encounter only in schools. In this exploratory study, task-based interviews were conducted with seven Filipino children from a public school. The children were asked to read and solve addition and subtraction word problems in English or Filipino. Analysis focused on haw language influences problem solution, and on the reading and mathematical strategies used. Results showed that children (a) were better able to comprehend and solve problems given in Filipino, (b) rarely used reading strategies, (c) were not familiar with using drawings or objects to represent word problems, and (d) employed unitary counting procedures for problems involving multi-digit numbers.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)131-160
    Number of pages30
    JournalJournal of Science and Mathematics Education in Southeast Asia
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2009


    • word problems
    • English language learners
    • reading comprehension


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