ERIC Number: ED209095
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1981
Reference Count: 0
Error Analysis in Solving Algebra Word Problems.
Travis, Betty P.
This document deals with the observation of students in a direct translation scheme in the solution of word problems in a university freshman-level Intermediate Algebra class. It is felt that since successful problem solvers of algebraic equations often have as much difficulty in solving word problems as do other students in the classes, the problem for most students must exist in the translation of words into algebraic expressions and equations. The focus of this study is directed towards the translation aspect of the solution of word problems. The observations detailed are based on the collected papers of 84 students. Ten problem samples and associated pupil errors are detailed. Among the recommendations made: (1) Students should be encouraged to set up an equation in phrases containing all the variable names for unknown quantities; (2) Teachers should stress the phrase structure of sentences and then proceed with a direct translation scheme; and (3) The use of auxiliary cues and representations should be encouraged, including pictures, diagrams, and flowcharts. It is noted that human problem solving is a complex task and insights into teaching strategies can be developed by understanding the thinking process. (MP)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Error Analysis (Mathematics); Heuristics; Mathematics Education Research; Word Problems