Are there too many problems on the page? Some authors attempt to pack in the problems, leaving little room for students to show their work. The opposite can also be the case. Maybe there are not enough problems to accurately assess student knowledge. Are the digits on the printed page large or small? In my opinion and within reason, the numbers can never be too large. Exhibiting stress at an early age on elementary studentsí eyes from staring at small print can lead to stronger prescription lenses.
Who's Fault? Is it his fault that he lacks confidence with word problems? Not entirely. Our actions, as educators, seem to imply a belief that solving word problems should come more naturally than simpler operations like arithmetic and algebra. Many parents and teachers feel justified in encouraging (i.e. forcing) a child to work hundreds or thousands of math worksheets, drill multiplication tables, long division... but few encourage solving hundreds of story problems. One suspects that the relative ease of creating and checking ordinary math worksheets keeps the focus of math education on simple, atomic operations at the expense of more holistic story problems.