Journal of Behavioral Education

, Volume 17, Issue 3, pp 278–302 | Cite as

An Evaluation of Interventions to Facilitate Algebra Problem Solving

  • Kristin H. Mayfield
  • Irene M. Glenn
Original Paper


Three participants were trained on 6 target algebra skills and subsequently received a series of 5 instructional interventions (cumulative practice, tiered feedback, feedback plus solution sequence instruction, review practice, and transfer training) in a multiple baseline across skills design. The effects of the interventions on the performance of 5 problem-solving tasks that required novel combinations of 2 or more of the target skills were evaluated. Results showed that cumulative practice of the skills and a combination of feedback with solution sequence instruction led to limited performance increases on some of the problem-solving tasks, with one task meeting the mastery criterion following the solution sequence intervention. The introduction of the transfer training resulted in more consistent improvements across tasks such that participants achieved the performance criterion on all remaining problem-solving tasks during a final baseline condition. The findings suggest that a structured intervention designed to transfer stimulus control from previously established discriminative stimuli to more complex, novel stimuli can facilitate problem solving without extensive direct instruction on the higher-level skills.


Algebra Mathematics Novel behavior Problem solving Transfer 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of FloridaGainesvilleUSA
  2. 2.The University of VirginiaCharlottesvilleUSA
  3. 3.GainesvilleUSA

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