Date of Award


Degree Name

Education (M.Ed.)


College of Education

Academic Year



Solving mathematical word problems is an ongoing problem for students with both reading and math learning disabilities (Powell, 2011). As more and more students with learning disabilities are included in the general education classroom, teachers must differentiate instruction to benefit all learners. The current strategies emphasized in textbooks are misleading and too general for students who struggle (Jitendra, 2008). Schema-based instruction is an alternative problem solving strategy, which requires students to identify the underlying structure (schema) which each word problem belongs, to translate important information to a diagram, and then to solve the problem. This project uses cognitive theory as a theoretical framework and analyzes the effects of schema-based instruction on students with learning disabilities and their general education peers. Enhancement materials for implementing schema-based instruction were created so that teachers in a small, urban, parochial school could meet the mathematical needs of a diverse population of students. The key features of the enhancement materials include descriptions of each schema, directions for delivering explicit instruction, example and practice word problems, and student reference materials/manipulatives.