Special education; mathematics; word problems; graphic organizers; video modeling; students with disabilities; elementary education; strategy instruction; autism spectrum disorders; inclusion; simulation


Over the last decade, the inclusion of students with disabilities (SWD) in the general education classroom has increased. Currently, 60% of SWD spend 80% or more of their school day in the general education classroom (U.S. Department of Education, 2013). This includes students with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), a developmental disability characterized by impairments in behavior, language, and social skills (American Psychological Association, 2013). Many of these SWD struggle with mathematics in the elementary grades; fewer than 20% of SWD are proficient in mathematics when they begin middle school, compared to 45% of their peers without disabilities. Furthermore, 83% of SWD are performing at the basic or below basic level in mathematics in the fourth grade (U.S. Department of Education, 2013). As the rate of ASD continues to increase (Centers for Disease Control, 2013), the number of students with this disability who are included in the general education classroom also continues to rise. These SWD and students with ASD are expected to meet the same rigorous mathematics standards as their peers without disabilities. This study was an attempt to address the unique needs of SWD and students with ASD by combining practices rooted in the literature, strategy instruction and video modeling. The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of an intervention on the ability of students with and without disabilities in inclusive fourth and fifth grade classrooms to solve word problems in mathematics. The intervention package was comprised of a graphic organizer, the K-N-W-S, video models of the researcher teaching the strategy to a student avatar from a virtual simulated classroom, TeachLivE, and daily word problems for students to practice the strategy. The researcher used a quasi-experimental group design with a treatment and a control group to determine the impact of the intervention. Students were assessed on their performance via a pretest and posttest. Analyses of data were conducted on individual test items to assess patterns in performance by mathematical word problem type. The effects of the intervention on SWD, students with ASD, and students without disabilities varied widely between groups as well as amongst individual students, indicating a need for further studies on the effects of mathematics strategy instruction on students with varying needs and abilities.


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Graduation Date





Dieker, Lisa


Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


College of Education and Human Performance

Degree Program

Education and Human Performance








Release Date

August 2015

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)


Dissertations, Academic -- Education and Human Performance; Education and Human Performance -- Dissertations, Academic

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Education Commons