Master's Theses



Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


During the writer's experience of teaching in elementary and junior high schools in Kansas he had excellent opportunity through supervision and classroom teaching to note a more-than-ordinary difficulty experienced by most children in the subject of arithmetic. Not only was the dull student baffled by the subject but many times the average and good students were "lost" when certain problems were presented. The exceptional. troublesomeness of this subject led the writer to ponder on the possible cause or causes of incorrect problem solving. One thing was apparent from observation and this was that many children seemed to lack a readiness to go about a problem when it was presented in a number and word form. A typical question asked by the pupils was, ''What does this word mean?". From this observation clues were gathered which pointed strongly at the vocabulary of arithmetic as one of the main obstacles to be overcome. The verbal or reasoning problem in arithmetic has long been recognized as one of the chief stumbling blocks to most children who fail or at least falter in that particular school subject. With little effort the reader may recall some school mate of bygone years, who may have been an expert at ciphering, but who, when confronted with a reasoning problem, seemed to have no idea as to whether the numbers should be added, subtracted, multiplied, or divided. In addition, after a final answer had been computed, this same individual did not know whether the answer should be dollars, horses, or tons. It is believed that such cases were and are too numerous to be classed as exceptions. Reading has been called the key which unlocks all the school subjects, but it is pretty generally believed that arithmetic is one subject which calls for some special reading ability or abilities. Since vocabulary knowledge plays such an important part in general reading ability, the writer believes that one of the special reading abilities required of those who would succeed in arithmetic is a knowledge of the vocabulary peculiar to arithmetic. The introduction above leads directly to the specific statement of the problem of this thesis, which is, "to discover the extent to which a knowledge of arithmetical vocabulary is a factor in the solution of verbal problems in sixth grade arithmetic".


Dr. Robert T. McGrath

Date of Award

Summer 1947

Document Type



© 1947 Ernest A. Hoopes


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