The Effect of Forward-Reaching and Backward-Reaching Transfer Instruction on Second Graders’ Problem-Solving Ability
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Masters of Education
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The purpose of this study was to determine whether direct instruction on forward and backward-reaching transfer would improve second grade students’ ability to apply past learning to solve new problems and deduce applications to future problems. The study was quasi-experimental, and used random selection to assign ten second grade students each to the treatment and control groups. Both groups received 30 minutes of general mathematics instruction. The treatment group received an additional 30 minutes of transfer training for one week. All 20 students in the treatment and control group completed one “Problem of the Day” exercise each day for two weeks. Daily post-problem questionnaires which asked students to connect the problem with prior knowledge or a future problem were given to both the treatment and the control groups and responses on them were compared to assess students’ utilization of transfer training. A pre/posttest was utilized to determine the treatment group’s understanding of forward and backward-reaching transfer. Comparison of the total Problem of the Day solution scores between both groups revealed no significant difference in performance. The mean differences on five variables, compared between the treatment and control group, determined no significant difference in participants’ ability to apply transfer strategies. Although there were no significant findings, observations and other research suggest that teaching transfer strategies may improve problem-solving in second grade students. Educational implications and suggestions for future research are discussed.