Solving additive word problems: Intuitive strategies make the difference


Young children use informal strategies to solve arithmetic word problems. The Situation Strategy First (SSF) framework claims that these strategies prevail even after instruction. The present study was conducted with second grade students in order to investigate the persistence of intuitive, situation-based strategies, on word problems that do not involve dynamic temporal changes. This is challenging for the SSF framework, since the lack of this dimension might bypass intuitive strategies. The results revealed that intuitive strategies persist, are valid for these types of problems, and impact the problems' difficulty. Indeed problems that require the application of arithmetic principles remain hard, even though they have been practiced at school. These findings provide complementary evidence to how mental calculation strategies articulate with arithmetic word problem solving and call for the extension of the SSF framework.

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