Metacognition and Mathematical Problem Solving : Case Studies of Six Seventh Grade Students

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


College of Science and Mathematics


Mathematical Sciences

Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair

Kenneth Wolff

Committee Member

Cynthia Onore

Committee Member

Anthony Piccolino

Committee Member

Gideon Weinstein


For many middle grades students, mathematical problem solving is a difficult task. The purpose of this study was to explore the means through which students solve problems. This exploration focused on two questions: (1) how do average seventh-grade students engage in solving non-routine mathematics problems, and (2) what metacognitive processes do students utilize in solving non-routine problems. The study took place in the fall of 2005 in a small suburban K--8 school in Northeastern New Jersey. Six seventh grade students participated in the study. All six participants came from the same seventh grade general mathematics class but were identified as high, middle, and low ability based on standardized test scores. A qualitative design using think-aloud protocols was used to examine the problem solving and metacognitive behaviors in which students engaged as they solved four mathematical problems. Transcripts were coded as read, understand, analyze, plan, explore, implement, and verify. Behaviors were then generalized as orientation, organization, execution, or verification. Moments of metacognitive control were also noted. Additional findings on attitudes and beliefs also emerged. The results have implications for the teaching and learning of mathematical problem solving.


Print version available at Sprague Library.

Full text available at ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global

File Format