University of Delaware
Office of Public Relations
The Messenger
Vol. 5, No. 2/1996
Young math students count on program
     Chances are you can bring any type of math problem to
William B. Moody and, rest assured, he'll solve it. Moody,
professor of educational development, is the director of an
innovative nationwide math program for students in grades 4
through 8.
     Created last year, "Solve It" is aimed at measuring
children's mathematical skills in a competitive atmosphere
through a testing format designed by Moody.
     The test uses what Moody calls "quasi-real life" problems.
Mixed in among fundamental addition and subtraction problems, for
example, are questions relating to ships, temperature analysis
and Richter scale readings.
     Success has come early for the program. In its inaugural
year, 100 teams participated from across the country. Moody not
only kept most of those participants, but he also was able to
acquire more than 60 new teams for this year's program.
Participants hail from as close as New Jersey and as far away as
the West Coast, and there's one team from Canada.
     "Solve It" is administered to participating students five
times a year, and teachers are asked to submit the top 10 scores
of their students. Out of approximately 2,000 results submitted
to him, Moody says there are 30 to 40 perfect scores.
     At year's end, a ceremony recognizes the top three scores
nationwide at each grade level and these students receive
trophies and plaques for their accomplishments. All students,
regardless of score, receive a certificate and patch for their
     Teachers welcome the program because the test is accompanied
by descriptive answer sheets detailing strategies they can use to
benefit their classroom instruction.
     "I think it's really having a positive influence on the math
curriculum in the schools," Moody says. "It's a good way to reach
     Moody chose the name "Solve It" because "the program is
really about kids learning how to become better problem-solvers."
The program's logo features two students facing each other, a
girl and a boy, in a thinking position on top of a stool.
                               -Jaret M. Lyons, Delaware '96