Research and Validity

This series is a revision of Problem-Solving Experiences in Mathematics and is based on extensive research conducted over the past thirty years. The effectiveness of the approach was proven in a study conducted by two of the series authors, Dr. Randall Charles and Dr. Frank Lester.*

The primary research conducted by Dr. Charles and Dr. Lester supports the conclusion that the key elements of the instructional model in Problem Solving Experiences: Making Sense of Mathematics lead to a significant improvement in students’ problem solving performance. Also, teachers view the organization of the program positively and find it easy to use. Furthermore, there is a firm research basis for other elements of the program, including consistent lesson structure, continual practice and review, the development of algebraic reasoning, the development of estimation methods, the emphasis on representations, and the use of journal writing.

Since the 1980s, the authors have continued to refine and improve the program. This revision builds on the strengths of the original program but offers more support for students and teachers and introduces new problem types that address important skills such as estimation and algebraic thinking.

A copy of the full research behind the program is available here.

*Charles, R. I., and Lester, F. K. (1984). An evaluation of a process-oriented instructional program in mathematical problem solving at grades 5 and 7. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education. 15(1), 15-34.