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Access Type

WSU Access

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name



Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor

Thomas Edwards


The purpose of this research paper was to determine if the use of key words in mathematical story problems would have an effect on students' ability to solve these problems proficiently. Subjects in the study were enrolled in Grade 10 Advanced Mathematics in the province of Ontario, and the particular students were selected from various public secondary schools in Windsor and the surrounding area. This study sought to answer the following two research questions: (1) Do students who use key words to solve word problems using two variables score higher than students who do not use key words? (2) If so, do students who use key words score higher in the translation of word problems than students who do not use key words? A pre-test was administered to all participating students at the beginning of the study in order to determine whether a statistically significant difference existed between the control and experimental groups. The ANOVA performed on the results of the pre-test indicated no significant difference between the control and experimental groups nor any significant difference as a result of the interaction between the teachers (factor A) and the particular groups (factor B), thus, resulting in no further statistical analysis of the covariant statistic (the pre-test). The study lasted approximately seven school days, each day having a duration of seventy-five minutes. At the end of the study a post-test was administered to all participating students in order to investigate the effect of using key words in the story problems. An ANOVA performed on the post-test yielded a statistically significant result at the 1% level of significance for all three factors: A, B, and AXB. These results indicated that students who had been taught the method of key words performed more poorly on the post-test than students in the control group. Based on the results of this study, the researcher has suggested the following: (1) That more practice in translation of words into mathematical symbols should be utilized before the method of key words is taught to a class of students. (2) The method of key words should be applied at the onset of students' work with story problems.

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