Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Salina Shrofel


The state of Maryland has implemented the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics (CCSSM) operations & algebraic thinking and number & operations-fractions with emphasis on students in Grades K-5 acquiring the ability to solve word problems for state and curriculum math assessments. However, since the implementation of CCSSM, 30% of elementary students in a Maryland school district have demonstrated underachievement (basic or below basic level) on problem-solving sections of the state and school standardized tests. This qualitative case study, guided by Polya's model of the four phases of mathematical problem-solving, was conducted to address this problem. The research questions addressed teachers' perceptions of how they teach underachieving students' word problem-solving skills, how prepared they feel, the challenges they experience when teaching word problem-solving skills, and the resources for instructing underachieving students on mathematical word problem-solving. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 8 certified elementary classroom teachers. Data from the teacher interviews were analyzed using pattern coding and thematic analysis. The findings indicated that teachers are not fully prepared to teach the CCSSM, teachers need assistance in creating standards-based detailed lesson plans, and teachers need help with the development of pedagogical strategies that enhance students' math vocabulary. Findings may lead to positive social change by informing the design of professional development and increasing the number of students who achieve proficiency in mathematical word problem-solving.