Linguistic Challenges in Solving Mathematics Word Problems: A Case of EFL University Students

Namirah Fatmanissa, Maria N. R. Novianti
2022 Advances in Social Science, Education and Humanities Research   unpublished
One of the biggest challenges English as Foreign Language (EFL) learners face in solving Mathematics word problems at the English college level is understanding the information presented through that language. This study aimed to investigate the importance of language in Mathematics word problems tests by analyzing students' performance on linguistically modified mathematics word problems. Forty-four university students were given ten Postsecondary Education Readiness Test (PERT) Mathematics
more » ... d problems, along with parallel items that were modified based on a framework of Language Factor in Mathematics Tests to reduce their linguistic complexity. Students' written works were compiled and graded. Interviews were conducted to further investigate students' linguistic challenges in solving the problems. The findings revealed that EFL students with low English ability benefited more from the modification by showing greater score gain. First, third, and fourth-year students benefited more from the modification than second year and fast track students, while there was no difference observed based on gender. Some examples of students' work in overcoming challenges due to long nominals, relative clauses, and complex question phrases were described to further explain the case. The study concluded that linguistic modification is necessary, and lecturers' awareness of linguistic challenges should be promoted.
doi:10.2991/assehr.k.211229.003 fatcat:suomh57wxbcs5f4prvua4arryy