Research by cognitive psychologists and mathematics educators has often been compartmentalized by departmental boundaries. Word Problems integrates this research to show its relevance to the debate on the reform of mathematics education.
Beginning with the different knowledge structures that represent rule learning and conceptual learning, the discussion proceeds to the application of these ideas to solving word problems. This is followed by chapters on elementary, multistep, and algebra problems, which examine similarities and differences in the cognitive skills required by students as the problems become more complex. The next section, on abstracting, adapting, and representing solutions, illustrates different ways in which solutions can be transferred to related problems. The last section focuses on topics emphasized in the NCTM Standards and concludes with a chapter that evaluates some of the programs on curriculum reform.