PROJECT SOLVE: A Mathematics Word Problem Solving Resource for Deaf Students

A grant funded by the U.S. Department of Education, Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE) – September 1, 2001 to August 31, 2004.

PROJECT SOLVE offers college and high school teachers a platform to provide deaf students independent assignments for practicing and improving their analytical thinking and problem solving skills without restructuring their courses. The web site provides a range and variety of word problems presented in language typically found in college math courses. An optional help menu provides clear concise written and graphic information to guide students with a range of reading abilities (8th-12th grade) through each math word problem. Thus, while deaf students are challenged with solving high school and college level math word problems, they have readable guidance help options available at their ability levels. This web program is available daily on a 24-hour basis, giving students independent, unrestricted access to problem-solving instruction and guided practice. The primary goals for PROJECT SOLVE are:

1) To develop an asynchronous web site providing guided practice and instruction for math word problem solving to deaf college and high school students.

2) To collect data and evaluate the effectiveness of the guided mentoring cues, hints, and visuals for students at different reading grading levels.

3) To evaluate the overall effectiveness of the web site as a practical on-line problem solving resource in the education of deaf students.

4) To disseminate widely the problem solving web site resources, including information to enhance pre-service and in-service teacher education for grades 9-12 programs.

5) To evaluate the effectiveness of the problem solving web site with other students having learning disabilities for reading and math, and to modify as appropriate.

The PROJECT SOLVE web site is designed to provide a large bank of mathematics word problems to solve with guided help. The "Help" provided is based as much as possible on what is known from educational research about the linguistic and experiential factors that explain why deaf and hard-of-hearing students struggle with a variety of mathematical word problems. For each word problem in the PROJECT SOLVE item pool, customized "help" guidance is provided for that specific problem. The guidance "help" is described in detail on the link for new students on the main page of this web site.

The PROJECT SOLVE item pool includes a variety of mathematics word problems for students to practice in the following categories:

  1. Arithmetic
  2. - Fractions

    - Variation

    - Percents (fractional and decimal)

    - Averages

    - Conversions

  3. Algebra – one variable and two variable problems
  4. - Communicating with symbols/literal expressions

    - Coin problems

    - Consecutive integer problems

    - Age problems

    - Investment problems

    - Mixture problems * (percents)

    - Motion/distance problems

    - Work problems

    - Probability problems

    - Logarithms

The word problems in the PROJECT SOLVE item pool were based on the types of word problems in typical standardized tests as well as from high school textbooks.

Additional information on deaf students, mathematics, and word problem solving can be found in the following section of selected references.


Selected References

Barham, J., & Bishop, A. (1991). Mathematics and the deaf child. In K. Durkin and B. Shire (Eds.), Language in mathematical education: Research and practice. Philadelphia: Open University Press.

Daniele, V.A. (1993). Quantitative literacy. American Annals of the Deaf, 138, 76-81.

Davis, S. M., & Kelly, R. R. (in press, July 2003). Comparing deaf and hearing college students' mental arithmetic calculations under two interference conditions. American Annals of the Deaf,

Kelly, R. R. (2003). Using Technology to Meet the Developmental Needs of Deaf Students to Improve Their Mathematical Word Problem Solving Skills. Mathematics and Computer Education, 37(1), 8-15.

Kelly, R. R., Lang, H. G., Mousley, K., & Davis, S. (2003). Deaf college students' comprehension of relational language in arithmetic compare problems. Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education, 8(2), 120-132.

Kelly, R. R., Lang, H. G., & Pagliaro, C. M. (2003), Mathematics Word Problem Solving for Deaf Students: A Survey of Practices in Grades 6-12. Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education, 8(2), 104-119.

Kelly, R. R., & Mousley, K. (2001). Solving word problems: More than reading for deaf students. American Annals of the Deaf, 146, 253-264.

Kidd, D.H., & Lamb, C. (1993). Mathematics vocabulary and the hearing-impaired student: An anecdotal study. Focus on Learning Problems in Mathematics, 15, 44-52.

Kidd, D. H., Madsen, A. L., & Lamb, C. S. (1993). Mathematics vocabulary: Performance of residential deaf students. School Science and Mathematics, 93, 418-421.

Mousley, K., & Kelly, R.R. (1998). Problem solving strategies for teaching mathematics to deaf students. American Annals of the Deaf, 143, 325-336.

Pagliaro, C.M. (1998). Mathematics reform in the education of deaf and hard of hearing students. American Annals of the Deaf, 143, 22-28.

Traxler, C. B. (2000). The Stanford Achievement Test, 9th Edition: National norming and performance standards for deaf and hard-of-hearing students. Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education, 5, 337-348.


Project Staff

Ronald R. Kelly, Project Director & Principal Investigator

Stacey M. Davis, Research and Marketing Associate

Keith Mousley, Instructor, NTID Department of Science & Mathematics

Cecelia Dorn, Programmer, NTID Department of Educational Resources

Matthew J. Kelly, Graduate Student, NTID Master's of Science in Secondary Education

Susan R. Post, Graduate Student, NTID Master's of Science in Secondary Education

Martha G. Gaustad, External Project Evaluator, Bowling Green State University

Advisory Group -
Claudia M. Pagliaro, University of Pittsburgh
Elizabeth Macken, Stanford University
John Silva, American School for the Deaf

Lavona M. Grow, Program Officer
Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education
US Department of Education


A project funded by
Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE)
Office of Postsecondary Education
U.S. Department of Education
The National Technical Institute for the Deaf
Rochester Institute of Technology
Rochester, New York

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