The purpose of the study was to examine possible cognitive factors related to word-type calculation problems for students with math difficulties. Four different types of math problems that required the same calculations were used to investigate possible causes of calculation problems. The four types included simple computation problems, contextualized computation problems written in phrase, word problems without irrelevant information, and word problems with irrelevant information. The four types of math problems consisting of 20 problems each were administered to 132 second graders. Among them, 41 students were students with math difficulties and the other 91 were average achievers in math. Math achievement levels of students with math difficulties were below 10 percentile in their schools. Results of the study showed that students with math difficulties had significantly lower performances in word-type problems than in structured computation-type problems, and that they had significantly lower performances in word problems with irrelevant information than in word problems without irrelevant information. The results of the study suggested that major problems experienced by students with math difficulties were related to problem representations, not to computation procedures themselves, and to limited thinking abilities differentiating important (relevant) parts from unimportant (irrelevant) ones in math problems.
Key words : Low Achievement, Math Problem Solving, Word Problem, Irrelevant Information