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The study describes how the Grade 8 students take in

information in translating word problems to mathematical
symbols or number sentences. Mentally guided by the
information processing model, students translate the word
problem into an internal representation on which it can
operate. Problem solvers or the students operate on it
appropriately and output the results. They tend to find
out what knowledge they already know to do the problem
tasks, what information they need, and how they use the
items of information to complete the tasks. If this model
is not stored in the long term memory in analyzing the
word problem, Grade 8 students may encounter obstacles
which eventually affect their performance in problem
The study includes categories of obstacles in word
problem translation into number sentences. The first
category is lack of comprehension. Students are confused
where and how to start solving the problem since they
cannot visualize the given information nor understand the
wording of the problem. The next category is
misinterpretation. Students present the solution of the
problem contrary or opposite to the correct translations.
They give incorrect answers to word problems that is
impossible in the context. The third category is
interchanging values. In presenting the number sentence
or equation, students possibly interchange the values due
to the incorrect use of the appropriate operations. In
problems involving operation in subtraction for instance,
minuend and subtrahend interchange places. The last
category is understanding mathematical language.
Students’ have the difficulty in communicating
mathematical ideas expressed in symbols, figures and
numerals. Mathematical language confuses the students to
process the solution due to the complexity of math
vocabularies which include technical terms, symbols,
variables, numerals and words with multiple meanings.
This complexity deters students to distinguish relevant
from irrelevant information given in the problem and
misleads them to present the correct symbolic
translation. These obstacles when not given immediate
attention can generate poor performance among Grade 8
students in translating word problems to number
The research paradigm is illustrated in figure 1.

Obstacles in Word Problem

Translation to Number Sentences

 Lack of Comprehension
Students’ Performance in
 Misinterpretation
Word Problem Translation
 Interchanging Values
 Understanding
Mathematical Language

Figure 1. The Research Paradigm