Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


School of Education


Learning and Instruction


Learning & Instruction EdD

First Advisor

Patricia Busk

Second Advisor

Kevin Oh

Third Advisor

Mathew Mitchell


The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of a cognitive- and metacognitive-strategy instruction on the mathematical problem-solving performance and metacognitive experience of 22 seventh- and eighth-grade students with learning disabilities. When solving mathematical word problems, students with learning disabilities typically lack self-regulation processes (Larson & Gerber, 2002) tend to respond impulsively, to use trial and error, and fail to evaluate or verify their solutions (Bryant, Bryant, & Hammermill, 2000). This study used the Metacognitive Experience Survey (MES), two sets of three mathematical-word-problem probes of varying complexity levels, and think-aloud protocols to measure intervention effect. The first research question probed the effect of the intervention on the mathematical-problem-solving performance of the participants as measured by their metacognitive verbalizations collected through think-aloud protocols. Qualitative analysis of the transcripts revealed four emerging themes: students with high metacognition were more successful in performing tasks correctly even when their nonproductive metacognitive verbalizations were above 25.0%; students in the high- and average-metacognition categories successfully solved the 3-step probe, whereas students in the low-metacognition category were not successful in solving the 3-step probe; students in the low-metacognition category used less productive metacognitive verbalizations as the complexity level of the probe increased; and students from all the metacognition categories extensively used cognitive- metacognitive strategies compared with preintervention observations. The second research question probed the intervention effect on the mathematical- problem-solving performance of the participants as measured by the change from pre- to postintervention scores on two sets of three mathematical probes. A dependent-samples t test revealed no strong statistically significant relationships. One weak but statistically significant relationship was found for students’ performance on the 1-step probe. There was an increase in the means for the 1-step and 3-step probes from pre- to postintervention. For the 2- and 3-stepstep probes, however, the change from pre- to postintervention was not statistically significant. The third research question probed the effect of the strategy instruction on the metacognitive experience of the participants as measured by the MES. A dependent-samples t test results indicated an increase in the participants’ metacognitive experience means from pre- to postintervention but the postintervention mean was not statistically significantly different than the preintervention mean. Notwithstanding that statistically significant changes were not realized across the MES and the mathematical-word-problem probes, important insights were obtained from the think-aloud protocols.