Effectiveness of cognitive guidelines in improving mathematical problem-solving skills in female students with mental disability attending 3rd grade of middle school

Document Type : Original Articles


1 MSc Student in Psychology and Exceptional Children Education, University of Social Welfare & Rehabilitation Sciences, Tehran, Iran

2 PhD Student in Educational Psychology, Department of Educational Psychology, Roudehen Branch, Islamic Azad University, Roudehen, Iran

3 PhD in Psychology and Exceptional Children Education, Academic Member, University of Welfare and Rehabilitation Sciences, Tehran, Iran



Introduction: Although a massive amount of research have been conducted on the effectiveness of cognitive guidelines related to helping students with learning disability, there is paucity of data regarding the effectiveness of such guidelines in addressing the needs of students with mental disability. The aim of this study was to determine the effect of cognitive guidelines on the improvement of mathematical problem-solving skills among female students with mental disability who were attending the 3rd Grade of middle schools across Tehran province, Iran.Materials and Methods: The present study had an experimental design with pre-test, post-test and control group. Participants were 30 girls with mental disability studying at 3rd Grade of middle schools. The participants were recruited via the multi-stage cluster method from special education schools of Tehran Province and were randomly assigned to either an experimental (n = 15) or a control (n = 15) group. Students in the experimental group received instruction combined with cognitive guidelines for 15 sessions while the controls were not provided with any guideline on the same sessions. The Wechsler intelligence test and a teacher-made test were respectively used to match the groups in terms of IQ and to measure the improvement of mathematical problem-solving skills. The data was statistically analyzed through descriptive statistics (mean, standard deviation, frequency and tables) and t test.Results: The results of this study showed that there was a significant increase in mathematical problem-solving skills of mentally disabled students in the experimental group (for whom cognitive guidelines were used) compared to those in the control group (P < 0.001).Conclusion: Problem-solving is one of many cognitive abilities that have been impaired in the students with mental disability. Instruction about cognitive strategies may result in the improvement of mathematical problem-solving skills of such students.  The present results may be a valuable evidence to prove the effectiveness of cognitive strategy instruction in enhancing mathematical problem-solving skills in mentally disabled girls.Keywords: Cognitive guideline, Mathematical problem-solving, Mental disability