The Effects on Mathematics Performance of Personalizing Word Problems to Students’ Interests Public Deposited

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  • March 19, 2019
  • Kosh, Audra
    • Affiliation: School of Education
  • This study explored student performance on topic-personalized word problems (TPWPs) in middle school mathematics whereby the context of a word problem was customized to students’ self-selected interests (i.e., sports; movies, music, and television; animals; travel; and science and technology). Using a within-subjects research design, 343 rising eighth-graders answered approximately 6,000 word problems – half of which were TPWPs and half of which were generic word problems – in the context of a free, online summer mathematics skills retention program for students. Research questions focused on whether TPWPs triggered students’ situational interest and how accuracy and speed of word problem responses differed between TPWPs and matched generic word problems. After controlling for the mathematics content of the items (i.e., rates and ratios, integer operations, and equations and inequalities), reading demand of the item stem, and students’ perceived mathematics ability level, results of multilevel modeling indicated that students were more likely to rate TPWPs as interesting as compared to generic word problems and that students were more likely to answer items correctly when rating items as interesting. However, no evidence was found that students were more likely to answer TPWPs correctly after controlling for interest ratings. Results suggested that TPWPs triggered students’ situational interest and that student interest relates to student performance indicators.
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Rights statement
  • In Copyright
  • Greene, Jeffrey
  • Scott, Catherine
  • Derry, Sharon
  • Stenner, A.
  • Cizek, Gregory J.
  • Doctor of Philosophy
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Graduate School
Graduation year
  • 2016

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