Practice Guide iconPractice Guide
This practice guide provides five recommendations for improving students’ mathematical problem solving in grades 4 through 8. This guide is geared toward teachers, math coaches, other educators, and curriculum developers who want to improve the mathematical problem solving of students.
1

Prepare problems and use them in whole-class instruction.

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2

Assist students in monitoring and reflecting on the problem-solving process.

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3

Teach students how to use visual representations.

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4

Expose students to multiple problem-solving strategies.

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5

Help students recognize and articulate mathematical concepts and notation.

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Topics: Grades: Education Levels:
  • Elementary
  • Middle Grades
Audience:
  • Administrators
  • Parent/Family
  • Policymakers
  • Researchers
  • School Specialist
  • Student
  • Teacher

This practice guide was prepared for the WWC by Mathematica under contract ED-07-CO-0062.

The following research staff contributed to the guide: Joshua Furgeson, and Robin Patfield.

These videos were prepared by WestEd under the Doing What Works Contract (ED-PEP-11-C-0068).
All videos are based on recommendations from the WWC practice guides and are designed to complement the guides.

  • John Woodward (Chair)
    University of Puget Sound

    Play an interview of Panel Chair, John Woodward: The Components of Problem Solving (5:47 minutes)
  • Sybilla Beckmann
    University of Georgia
  • Mark Driscoll
    Education Development Center
  • Megan Franke
    University of California, Los Angeles
  • Patricia Herzig
    Independent Math Consultant
  • Asha Jitendra
    University of Minnesota
  • Kenneth R. Koedinger
    Carnegie Mellon University
  • Philip Ogbuehi
    Los Angeles Unified School District
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What Works Clearinghouse Webinar on Evidence-Based Practices and Programs in STEM
August 1, 2021

What Works Clearinghouse released a webinar for educators on evidence-based resources to improve STEM skills for students in elementary, middle, and high school. Experts and educators discussed exampl...
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What Works: Evidence-Based Math, Reading & Writing Tips for In-Person & Remote Instruction
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What Works Clearinghouse released a webinar for educators on evidence-based practices to support math, reading, and writing instruction, as well as instructional resources to share with parents and ca...
Reference
What Works: Evidence-Based Math, Reading & Writing Tips for In-Person & Remote Instruction
July 1, 2021

What Works Clearinghouse released a webinar for educators on evidence-based practices to support math, reading, and writing instruction, as well as instructional resources to share with parents and ca...
Video
Using the Practice Guide to Improve Mathematical Problem Solving in Grades 4-8
December 8, 2020

This webinar explored how Improving Mathematical Problem Solving in Grades 4 through 8: A Practice Guide supports the professional development of mathematics teachers in grades 4–8.
Infographic
Evidence-Based Recommendations for Remote Math Instruction in the Secondary Grades
October 1, 2020

This infographic provides examples from three practice guides about secondary school instruction in math that can be implemented for free or at a low cost in remote learning settings.
Infographic
Evidence-Based Recommendations for Remote Math Instruction in the Elementary Grades
October 1, 2020

This infographic provides examples from three practice guides about elementary school instruction in math that can be implemented for free or at a low cost in remote learning settings.
Guide
Instructional Tips Based on the Educator's Practice Guide Improving Mathematical Problem Solving in Grades 4 Through 8
October 1, 2018

This eight-page set of instructional tips translates practice guide recommendations into actionable approaches that educators can try in their classrooms.
Guide
Summary of Evidence for Instructional Tips Based on the Educator's Practice Guide
October 1, 2018

This summary of evidence describes the research evidence that supports the use of the instructional tips in classrooms.
Video
Interview with Panel Chair, John Woodward
April 11, 2017

Play an interview of Panel Chair, John Woodward: The Components of Problem Solving (5:47 minutes)

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