PROBLEM SOLVING PROMTPS FOR THE INTERMEDIATE GRADES: ASSESSING STUDENTS THROUGH COMMUNICATION IN PROBLEM SOLVING By Melanie Close Liotta Spring 2002 The objective of this project was to develop and evaluate a series of prompts that would improve both student problem solving skills and attitude towards mathematics. Each prompt consisted of a series of several problems, ranging from rudimentary to challenging, and also included a writing component where students needed to communicate their mathematical reasoning. A 4-point rubric was developed to accompany each prompt to assess the students’ understanding. The first prompt, together with the attitude survey, was administered at the beginning and end of the year for comparison. The study was conducted in a sixth grade classroom over the course of one academic year. The students’ scores only showed improvement in prompts within the same standard, and not overall. The pre- and post- of the first prompt showed significant improvement, particularly in communication, with the number of students showing at least substantial understanding doubling. The attitude survey also showed significant improvement in the students’ attitude towards mathematics, with the number of students showing a ‘good’ attitude tripling. In conclusion, problem solving abilities may not be transferable across content areas, or may take longer than one academic year to show significant improvement, but rich problem solving experiences can improve attitude towards mathematics.