The NYTimes reported on an article in Science magazine. A rare double blind randomized test was done on college students between the equivalent of a math word test and a simple math equation test. The subjects who were trained with the math equations did much better did at math.

First, I never trust research on college students, but I'll make an exception where the subject of the research is school based learning methods.

Second, anyone should have been able to figure this matter out (anyone, unfortunately wasn't me.) Translating a word problem into the underlying algebra (a donkey versus a mule walking backwards going 3 mph ...etc) has never taught me any math. It doesn't teach anyone else math either. It only teaches how to translate word problems into the algebra you already know.

My guess is that solving word problems in math is a skill independent of math.

Every single person in our society must know math to be a full participant. There are no two ways about it. This math education finding will help us out of the educational *quagmire* we have been fighting for half a century.