Mathematics Through a Linguistic Lens: The impact of English Language Proficiency in Solving Mathematical Word Problems Among Secondary ESL Students


  • Mallika S Faculty of Social Sciences, Arts, and Humanities, Lincoln University College, Malaysia
  • Lubna Ali Mohammed Faculty of Social Sciences, Arts, and Humanities, Lincoln University College, Malaysia



Background: This study delves into the intricate relationship between English language proficiency and the aptitude for solving Mathematical word problems among secondary ESL students in Qatar. Recognizing the nuanced nature of mathematical word problems, the research underscores the impediments posed by language barriers, impacting students' comprehension and communication in the realm of Mathematics. Methods: To investigate this relationship, two primary data collection instruments were employed: the "English Language Proficiency Test" assessed overall language proficiency, including listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills, while the "Math Word Problem-Solving Ability Test" measured students' competence in comprehending and solving Mathematical word problems. Data analysis, conducted through Pearson’s correlation coefficient and linear regression analysis in SPSS, incorporated descriptive statistics to provide a comprehensive overview of data distribution. Results: The results revealed a robust positive correlation between English language proficiency and Math word problem-solving ability. Descriptive statistics offered insights into data distribution, and linear regression analysis illustrated the predictive relationship, demonstrating how changes in English proficiency predict corresponding shifts in Math problem-solving scores. Conclusion: The findings underscore the critical importance of addressing language-related challenges in Mathematics education for ESL students. Recommendations include explicit vocabulary instruction, effective modelling, the use of visual aids, fostering collaborative discussions, and adjustments to language complexity in mathematical problems. By deepening our understanding of the interplay between English language proficiency and Math problem-solving, educators can tailor instructional strategies to enhance the overall educational experience for ESL secondary students in Qatar, fostering improved comprehension and success in Math word problem-solving ability.


English Language Proficiency, Math Word Problems, ESL (English as a Second Language), Secondary Students, Math Word Problem-Solving Abilities (MWPS)


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How to Cite

S, M., & Ali Mohammed, L. (2024). Mathematics Through a Linguistic Lens: The impact of English Language Proficiency in Solving Mathematical Word Problems Among Secondary ESL Students. International Journal of Emerging Issues in Social Science, Arts and Humanities ( IJEISSAH), 2(2), 46-57.