Action Research Proposal: Mathematics Problem-Solving Skill and Reading Comprehension

Updated on May 7, 2018

It cannot be denied that problem solving is an important part of Mathematics education. Mathematics, in general, is an important subject because of its practical role to a person and the society as a whole. However, before a student can successfully solve a problem, he has to possess good reading comprehension, as well as analytic and computational skills.

The Problem

Problem solving in mathematics and reading comprehension go hand in hand. Solving Math problems entails the students to apply two skills at the same time: reading and computing. It is a double-edged sword.

As a public school teacher of sixth grade mathematics for five years, I have encountered many pupils who are poor in both comprehending and analyzing math word problems.

Specifically in my 2010-2011 class, only 11 out of 60 pupils could successfully solve word problems with or without help from the teacher. The rest needed to be guided to understand the problem. Approximately 82 percent find it hard to picture the situation indicated by the problem they are trying to solve. The slower ones would even ask the meaning of a certain word in the problem. When they have understood it, it is only then that they fully grasp the event and situation pictured in the problem.

Obviously, the bane of these pupils is the understanding of the contents of the math problems correctly and connecting the ideas expressed in it to fully grasp and find a way to successfully solve the problem.

The Causes

  1. Limited vocabulary in mathematics
  2. Lack of technique in solving word problems

The Solutions


  1. Develop vocabulary before the beginning of the math class
  2. Establish a tutor-tutee relationship wherein a good pupil tutors or teaches a slower classmate assigned to him in areas of reading comprehension and problem-solving
  3. Provide interesting and challenging vocabulary activities involving mathematics vocabulary, such as contests and games


  1. Organize the given information in the word problem
  2. Use object representation and manipulatives to visualize word problems
  3. Substitute large numbers with easier numbers, or restate the problem in simpler terms
  4. Make a number sentence out of the word problem
  5. Use the “trial and error” method or the “guess and check”

Plan of Action


  1. Improve the pupils' limited vocabulary and enhance reading comprehension ability of the students
  2. Develop the pupils’ techniques in solving word problems

Time Frame

This study will be conducted for one quarter, from July to September.

Target Subjects

The target subjects for this study are the sixth grade pupils of Zapote Elementary School during the academic year 2011-2012.

Activities to Be Undertaken

Target Date
Persons Involved
Expected Results
July 12, 2011
School Head
A. Inform the school head about the action research to be undertaken
Granted permission to conduct the research
July 15, 2011
Grade VI pupils Co-teachers
B. Orientation of the pupils and co-teachers regarding the action research
100% of the pupils and co-teachers will be aware of the on-going research
C. Improve the pupils' limited vocabulary words in Mathematics
July 16, 2011
Grade VI pupils
1. Survey the Mathematics vocabulary skill of the pupils.
100% of the pupils will be surveyed
July 18 to September 9, 2011
Grade VI pupils
2. Provide unlocking of difficulties through vocabulary development before the beginning of the Math class.
100% of the class will develop and enhance their Math vocabulary skill
July 21, 2011
Grade VI pupils, Teacher
3. Establish a tutor-tutee relationship in reading comprehension and problem-solving wherein a good pupil tutors a slow classmate assigned to him
100% of the slow pupils will learn from their tutor-classmates
July 18, 2011 until the end of the school year
Grade VI pupils , Teacher
4. Provide interesting and challenging vocabulary activities involving Math vocabulary such as in contestsand game.
100% of the pupils will participate more actively in discussions and activities
D. Develop the pupils' techniques in solving word problems
July 25 to August 5, 2011
Grade VI pupils, Teacher
1. Draw a graph, chart, graphic organizer or list to help the students organize their information found in the word problem.
100% of the pupils will be able to organize the given data and connect the ideas expressed in the problem
August 8-19, 2011
Grade VI pupils, Teacher
2. Ask the students to make representation of objects so they will be able to visualize the problem clearly. They can use ruler, play money, realia, blocks, dice, etc.
100% of the pupils can manipulate and be aided by these materials in solving word problems
August 22 to September 2, 2011
Grade VI pupils, Teacher
3. Substitute large numbers by simpler numbers and use them instead of what are given in the problem, Problems can also be restated in much simpler terms.
100% of the pupils will be able to simplify the problem and substitute simpler numbers for the given numbers
September 5-16, 2011
Grade VI pupils, Teacher
4. From the given problem, make a number sentence by substituting the English sentences into Mathematics sentences. Another technique is to translate the problem into a dialect most understood by the students.
100% of the pupils will be able to master writing the number sentence
September 19-23, 2011
Grade VI pupils, Teacher
5. Solve by "trial and error" or "guess and check" by using the answers provided in multiple choice problems.
100% of the pupils will be able to apply the guess and check technique

Evaluation Criteria

The result of this research shall be reported after 100% of the Grade VI pupils have improved their Mathematics problem-solving skills.

Research Design

This action research is purely descriptive in nature and uses pre-test/post-test results and survey results to address the pupils’ problem.

Data To Be Collected
Statistical Treatment
1. Conduct a pre-survey of the previous Math vocabulary and reading comprehension of students
Pre-survey result
2. Administer the pre-test
Result of the pre-test
3. Conduct daily test on Math vocabulary
Result of the daily test
4. Conduct weekly test on problem-solving
Weekly test result
5. Conduct a post-survey of the Mathematics vocabulary of the pupils
Post-survey result
6. Administer the post-test
Result of the post-test

© 2012 lorenmurcia


Submit a Comment
  • profile image


    7 months ago

    Hello po.. Can i use your study as my reference? God bless Mam..

  • profile image


    12 months ago

    Hi mam can i use your study as my action research. Thanks

  • profile image


    16 months ago from philippines

    mam can i use your study as one of my reference?thanks. Godbless

  • profile image


    16 months ago from philippines

    Mam, can I use you're study as one of my reference in conducting research similar to this?. Thanks :)GODSPEED

  • Sam Gier profile image

    Sam Gier 

    21 months ago

    Thanks for sharing. I am a High School Math teacher and i experienced similar problems with my students too. I just want to ask permission if i could use this research as one of my references in conducting the same study. Thanks :)

  • mhieemhai profile image


    2 years ago

    Hi po I just want to ask permission in using this research as one of my reference in conducting the same study. Thanks :)

  • profile image

    Flora Sudcalen 

    3 years ago

    Thanks for sharing.

  • profile image


    4 years ago

    hi. i am interested in conducting a study similar to the premise of your research but in college freshmen. is it okay with you?

    thank you very much.

    More power.

  • Rosalina Cea profile image

    Rosalina Cea 

    4 years ago from Baao, Camarines Sur

    The difficulty really lies on poor reading comprehension. It can be solved, I think by a curriculum same as ours in the early 6Os whereas far as I remember was more of reading in the primary grades. Nobody was unable to read in our class when we were in Grade l. Students opt to be absent when they are unable to cope up with lessons and later on dislikes going to school.

  • Missy Mac profile image

    Missy Mac 

    6 years ago from Illinois

    Nice job! My action research was on Integrating Technology and testing pilot learning software. Thanks.

  • profile image


    6 years ago

    I think this will be very useful to me cause I'm experiencing the same problem with my students. What was the result of the research you conducted? I am planning to do the same action research in our school... If you don't mind, can you give me samples of the tests you used to serve as my basis? thanks a lot.

  • profile image


    6 years ago

    Thank you for sharing your ideas. I hope that this program will be realized and be a model to some, if not most, of our schools. God bless and more power!

  • lorenmurcia profile imageAUTHOR


    7 years ago

    Thank you, naynay2124. I wrote this because I am experiencing problems with my students with regard to their reading comprehension and their ability to analyze word problems. I am appalled that when they come to me as sixth graders, some can't even comprehend a very simple sentence in English!

  • NayNay2124 profile image


    7 years ago

    Lack of reading comprehension skills is a problem in the schools across the country. Maybe if schools would begin more aggressive reading programs in the earlier grades, this wouldn't be as much as an issue in the higher grade levels. This is an issue in many of our schools across the country. Also, parents should be pro-active by spending more time reading with their children. I found your hub to be very interesting.


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