Problem solving and computational skill: Are they shared or distinct aspects of mathematical cognition?
Journal of Educational Psychology. 2008 Feb Vol 100(1) 30-47
Fuchs, Lynn S.; Fuchs, Douglas; Stuebing, Karla; Fletcher, Jack M.; Hamlett, Carol L.; Lambert, Warren
The purpose of this study was to explore patterns of difficulty in 2 domains of mathematical cognition: computation and problem solving. Third graders (n = 924; 47.3% male) were representatively sampled from 89 classrooms; assessed on computation and problem solving; classified as having difficulty with computation, problem solving, both domains, or neither domain; and measured on 9 cognitive dimensions. Difficulty occurred across domains with the same prevalence as difficulty with a single domain; specific difficulty was distributed similarly across domains. Multivariate profile analysis on cognitive dimensions and chi-square tests on demographics showed that specific computational difficulty was associated with strength in language and weaknesses in attentive behavior and processing speed; problem-solving difficulty was associated with deficient language as well as race and poverty. Implications for understanding mathematics competence and for the identification and treatment of mathematics difficulties are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2008 APA, all rights reserved)