ERIC Number: ED258846
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1984-Feb
Reference Count: N/A
Basic Algebra Revisited: A Study with 14 Year Olds. Revision.
A group of 24 14-year-old students were presented with sets of algebra tasks using the Leeds Modelling System (LMS), a computer-based modeling system. Four months later, these same students were given a paper-and-pencil test which covered comparable tasks set by LMS. In addition, certain students were given detailed diagnostic interviews. A comparison between the results obtained is presented. Results obtained on the paper-and-pencil test and the interviews were consistent, showing that students had some profound misunderstandings of algebraic notation. Furthermore, from the interviews it was possible to determine classes of strategies some students were using, including (1) searching for solutions (substituting) and (2) applying a "global" rule, such as collecting all numbers on one side, whether or not they were coefficients. The overall picture evolving from this and other studies seems to be: (1) that the difficulties of learning algebra have been greatly under-estimated; (2) that students have a great difficulty in inferring their own rules, or sometimes higher-level schema, and then using them consistently and often in appropriate situations; and (3) that few students have evolved mechanisms by which they can verify whether a proposed algorithm is feasible. (JN)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Stanford Univ., CA. Dept. of Computer Science.