Students with mild intellectual disability engaging in proportions word problems

J Intellect Disabil. 2021 Dec;25(4):680-694. doi: 10.1177/1744629520937834. Epub 2020 Jul 21.


The researchers conducted a qualitative case study to describe the experiences of two seventh grade students with mild intellectual disability as they engaged in mathematics word problems involving proportions. The researchers analyzed student performance in large group settings and with individualized instruction to gain perspective on the students' tendencies with challenging mathematics content. During the teaching sessions in this study, one of the participants initially struggled with the proportions word problems, but demonstrated success after teachers connected new information in the tasks to students' long-term memory and utilized gestures and diagrams to facilitate the students' processing of information. Another participant succeeded more easily with proportions word problems which, along with the success of the other participant, provides support that students with a mild intellectual disability can succeed with challenging topics, such as proportions word problems.

Keywords: gestures; mathematics; mild intellectual disability; proportions; word problems.

MeSH terms

  • Achievement
  • Educational Personnel*
  • Humans
  • Intellectual Disability*
  • Mathematics
  • Students