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Developing mathematics, reading and language competence via word problems

Research at Charles University

The area of word problems has been identified as an area of concern in many countries because of pupils’ difficulties in solving them. Teachers report that word problems belong among those in which pupils have the poorest performance and studies with pupils confirm this assertion. Word problems are often feared by pupils and contribute to their negative attitude towards mathematics. The aim of our research in this area is to develop a conception of mutual connection of mathematical, reading and language literacy among pupils of all grades of the primary school in the area of work with texts in mathematical contexts, serving to overcome the boundaries between subjects.

The conception will include the methodology of developing skills to solve word problems and work with texts (in mathematics and the mother tongue lessons), as well as lesson units and worksheets for direct use in lessons summarized in a comprehensive methodological compendium. The development of the conception will be based on scientific knowledge (from the results of own and foreign research), but also on school practice and its needs (through consultations with the expert team of teachers and piloting in lessons). The conception will be trialled in school practice through two cycles of design research.

Team leader & members

  • doc. Naďa Vondrová
  • doc. Darina Jirotková
  • doc. Martina Šmejkalová
  • Dr. Jana Slezáková

Selected publications

  • VONDROVÁ, Naďa, HAVLÍČKOVÁ, Radka, HIRSCHOVÁ, Milada, CHVÁL, Martin, NOVOTNÁ, Jarmila, PÁCHOVÁ, Anna, SMETÁČKOVÁ, Irena, ŠMEJKALOVÁ, Martina A TŮMOVÁ, Veronika. Matematická slovní úloha: mezi matematikou, jazykem a psychologií. Praha: Nakladatelství Karolinum, 2019. 420 s.
  • VONDROVÁ, Naďa, NOVOTNÁ, Jarmila and HAVLÍČKOVÁ, Radka. The influence of situational information on pupils’ achievement in additive word problems with several states and transformations. ZDM, International Journal on Mathematics Education. 2019, 51(1), 183–197
  • NOVOTNÁ, Jarmila and VONDROVÁ, Naďa. Pupils’ strategies for missing value proportional problems. In: HOUŠKA, Milan, KREJČÍ, Igor, FLÉGL, Martin, FEJFAROVÁ, Martina, URBANCOVÁ, Hana and HUSÁK, Jakub. Proceedings of the 14 th International Conference: Efficiency and Responsibility in Education 2017 (ERIE). 1 vyd. Prague: Czech University Life Sciences, 2017, s. 279–286.


Charles University
Faculty of Mathematics and Physics
doc. RNDr. Naďa Vondrová, Ph.D.
E: nada.vondrova@pedf.cuni.cz
T: (+420) 221 900 249

More information

We have an interest for motivated post graduate students interesting in  pedagogy and education.


Univerzita Karlova v Praze