This paper aims to examine how closely reading comprehension correlates with mathematics performance. It analyses previous related studies that investigate the relationship between literacy and mathematics skills, and the effects of reading comprehension on problem-solving. The results of the findings were obtained by administering tests to a grade five student who had challenges with reading comprehension. The study found that reading comprehension directly affected mathematics performance and recommended that the grade five teachers take measures to help the student improve her reading comprehension.
These involve teaching the student ways of summarizing text information, teaching the student common vocabulary words, and encouraging the student to practice peer learning with other students that involve reciprocal question and answer exercises.
Mathematical inadequacies have been demonstrated to severely impede a student’s educational potential while in school. Students who are skilled in arithmetics earn around 38% higher than those who are less skilled arithmetically (Douglas & Salzman, 2020). The Council of Teachers established standards that define the math achievement targets for all students. These requirements encompass five general arithmetic aims for children: learning to respect mathematics, developing confidence and ability to perform mathematical calculations, becoming mathematical leaders in communicating mathematically, and reasoning mathematically. Notwithstanding these lofty ambitions, students’ math proficiency is not in accordance with the set goals (Ulu, 2017). In an attempt to find the reason why students underperform in mathematics, it is important to research contributing factors such as reading proficiency.
Description of Previous Assessments
Previous studies have attempted to explain the interconnection between reading proficiency and mathematics skills, but these studies contain a certain degree of generalizability which limits its application in all geographic regions. Ulu (2017) conducted the first assessment that aimed at exploring the impact of reading fluency, understanding, and problem-solving techniques on categorizing pupils with high and poor problem-solving performance.
The study sample consisted of 279 fourth-grade children from a primary school. A literary text, phonation reading scale, textual understanding scale, deductive reasoning scale, and problem-solving scale were utilized in the study to determine the reading correctness rate and the reading pace (Ulu, 2017). Regression analysis was used to examine the impact that reading comprehension had on identifying learners with high and low problem-solving skills success, while discriminant evaluation was used in establishing the impact of problem-solving skills.
The study concluded that proficient reading capability had little bearing on classifying pupils based on their problem-solving abilities. Both reading and comprehension was shown to be 77 percent successful in categorizing problem-solving performance, although inferential comprehension was found to be more efficient than understanding the text (Ulu, 2017). Notably, this study was not stated to have any limitations.
Seeing that not much was gathered from the previous research analyzed, a similar study was also evaluated to gather more information. Peng and Lin (2019) conducted the second assessment that looked at how various forms of mathematics terminology stressed in the curriculum are associated with varied mathematics results among Chinese fourth-graders. 237 students were asked about their arithmetic terminology, basic vocabulary, cognitive abilities, and arithmetic capabilities (Peng and Lin, 2019).
After consideration of general terminology, Intelligence Quotient, working memory, and speed of processing, researchers discovered that mathematics comprehension made a key contribution to mathematics achievement (Peng & Lin, 2019). Notably, the effects of mathematics terminology varied depending on the type of mathematics outcome and mathematics vocabulary. That is, mathematics vocabulary significantly contributed to reading comprehension, but it did not affect the calculations.
Word problems favored vocabulary related to measuring and geometry over terminology relating to numerical operations (Peng & Lin, 2019). Furthermore, measurements and geometric terminology somewhat described the relationship between word challenges and broad terminologies and the Intelligence Quotient, but working memory language entirely explained the relationship. These findings imply that mathematical vocabulary is not a single construct, but rather a collection of subcategories that are linked to diverse mathematics results in intermediate school students.
The limitations of the second study included that arithmetic calculation and Maze barely accounted for around 22% of the variation on quantitative assessments. This leaves about 78 percent of the variability unexplained. Additionally, the research did not include a wide range of academic levels. Based on past research, it would have been better to examine a wider variant of participants to determine whether the gap between ORF and Maze as determinants changes with academic levels.
Description of the Participant and the Environment of the Research
The participant, Jane, was a fifth-grade student from an urban primary school in southern California. The student in this study was female and of African-American descent. Furthermore, the pupil was identified as an English language learner (ELL), with 30% percent proficiency, and she was predominantly taught in a general education setting, including getting up to 10 hours per week of pull-out capacity specialist program (RSP) services. The student was given three oral reading fluency (ORF) excerpts, which were retrieved online. These passages were prepared at the elementary school to be indicative of that grade’s general curriculum.
Jane was instructed to read aloud for one minute from each excerpt using the standardized reading curriculum-based measurement (R-CBM) assessment method. The examiner graded the word count read correctly while the participant read the excerpt aloud. Words read successfully included self-corrected mistakes within three seconds of the first try. Words that were mispronounced, missing, or altered were considered wrongly read. If a student hesitated or delayed for three seconds with a term, the examiner gave them the word. This was also marked as a mistake made by the student in reading the excerpts. The average words which were accurately pronounced from the three reading probes were utilized as the ORF score for the student.
The collected statistics needed analysis, and therefore, a unique method was employed. The method given by Parker, Hasbrouck, and Tindal was used to create this analysis (McIntosh, 2020). As a result, the passage’s opening sentence is preserved. Following that, each seventh word was substituted with a series of three parenthetical words. Which one of the three words was a direct quote from the original article, while the remaining two words were filler words that were inappropriate in the scenario. This refers to a word that is the same part of speech as the right, original word but does not keep the meaning of the message or makes no sense.
The other distractor used was a term that was chosen at random and had no meaning in the context of the excerpts. The percentage of words properly selected from the pieces of reading was utilized as the Maze score for the assessment.
In calculation, two fundamental math calculation problems were selected from Math Basics 5, Workbook-second Edition, and applied in this research. Every assessment was created to demonstrate and assess the mathematical computation curriculum for the full year, thus the types of issues offered on each assessment were consistent within the fifth grade. The dividing of whole integers, multiplying, decimals, and fractions were the problems that Jane was tested on. The total percentage of positive digits for each problem was used in the study. This was computed by summing the number of accurate digits for every answer and putting them together to get the problem’s cumulative sum. As a result, it was possible to get partial credit for a partially accurate answer.
Interpretation of Results
The study’s major goal was to see how closely reading ability, as judged by CBM reading ability and Maze reading ability, correlated with mathematical performance of Jane. Two theories were put to the test:
- Is it true that reading ability, as measured by ORF and Maze, predicts achievement in computational mathematics?
- Does ORF assess performance on computational mathematics stronger than the Maze, given that ORF has more empirical evidence as a comprehension measure?
Overall, mathematical calculation abilities and reading skills account for a substantial portion of the diversity in practical arithmetic performance. This has substantial consequences for the trustworthiness of measurement metrics in these areas, as previously highlighted. Furthermore, this knowledge is particularly useful in the development of academic solutions. When working with students who are having difficulty with arithmetic, it is critical to remember that reading has an impact on applied math skills.
As a result, it is critical to distinguish between pupils who struggle only with mathematics and students who struggle with both mathematics and reading comprehension. In conclusion, this research both confirmed and refuted the conclusions of earlier research on the topic. The research examined the link between reading proficiency and mathematical performance. In the end, while scores from mathematical calculations are the best predictors of applied mathematics, reading comprehension and performance in mathematics both play a big role in the forecast of a student’s overall performance. In applied mathematics, comprehension as tested by Maze, is crucial.
There is a likelihood that a reading intervention will have to improve arithmetic proficiency. As a result, when dealing with children who have both literacy and mathematics deficiencies, reading rehabilitation is a good place to start. Jane’s teacher, in this case, should establish reading rehabilitation for her and any other student found to have reading challenges. Conversely, the findings of this study have far-reaching ramifications for mathematics and reading proficiency in general. Because reading comprehension abilities influence applied mathematics achievement, I would recommend that Jane’s teacher devote extra instructional time in the classroom to establish good reading skills, particularly in the early stages. The early stages are good the best for such interventions since literacy challenges are more easily remedied.
Mathematics is an important subject for a student while in school and the job market. This is because, as earlier discussed, employees who are better skilled in mathematics tend to earn more. The performance in the mathematics subject, however, has been greatly wanting. This brings a need to conduct studies on the variables that affect mathematics performance. Reading comprehension has been seen to greatly affect the performance in Mathematics, as seen in the case of Jane. This calls for teachers to identify students with low reading proficiency and help them by providing reading rehabilitation and devoting extra instructional time in the classroom to establish good reading skills in the early stages.
Douglas, D., & Salzman, H. (2020). Math counts major and gender differences in college mathematics coursework. The Journal of Higher Education, 91(1), 84-112. Web.
McIntosh, D. (2020). Evaluating the Use of a computer-based repeated reading intervention to increase fluency (Publication No. 27997715) (Doctoral dissertation, Eastern Oregon University). ProQuest Dissertations Publishing. Web.
Peng, P., & Lin, X. (2019). The relation between mathematics vocabulary and mathematics performance among fourth graders. Learning and Individual Differences, 69, 11-21. Web.
Ulu, M. (2017). The effect of reading comprehension and problem-solving strategies on classifying elementary 4th-grade students with high and low problem-solving success. Journal of Education and Training Studies, 5(6), 44-63. Web.