Date of Award

Spring 5-4-2015

Document Type

Education 530 Project

Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

Sheckels, Marie P.

Major or Concentration

Elementary Education


This study seeks to investigate the effects of personalization in mathematical word problems compared to non-personalized, textbook word problems. Students have been found to perform higher on word problems when students' names and interests are included in the context (Hart, 1996). In addition, personalized word problems have been rated easier to solve and preferred over textbook word problems (Ku & Sullivan, 2002). In the present study, differences between personalized and non-personalized word problems were examined in subgroups of mathematical and reading levels. Interest Survey information was used to personalize or replace the context of textbook word problems, while leaving the same numeric values and required operations. Second graders received either a non-personalized or personalized word problem each morning. Word problems were counterbalanced so that a word problem and its counterpart were administered at least two weeks apart. Results indicated that the personalization of word problems improved students' performance, perceived difficulty ratings, and attitudes toward word problems. However, differences between non-personalized and personalized word problems were not statistically significant.

Included in

Education Commons