ERIC Number: ED310926
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1989
Reference Count: N/A
Poor Concept Formation in Mathematics: A Diagnostic Perspective.
Barnard, J. J.
The aim of this study was to identify deficiencies in students' knowledge and understanding of basic algebraic concepts and operations. Since analysis of errors is an effective way of tracing misconceptions in mathematics, a diagnostic test was compiled for this purpose. A total of 162 items was included in the test which was administered to 4,635 standard nine students from 106 schools in the Republic of South Africa. Although most students were supposed to find a diagnostic test easy, it was discovered that many of the students experienced serious difficulties. The main cause of the difficulties was attributed to a lack of understanding. The students often succeeded in some manipulations but failed to understand the concepts and principles on which these manipulations were based. It was concluded that deficiencies in basic prerequisites included ignorance of algorithms, inadequate mastery of basic facts, incorrect procedures in applying mathematical techniques, and insufficient knowledge of important concepts and symbols. A total of 53 references are listed. (Author/YP)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Teachers; Practitioners
Authoring Institution: Human Sciences Research Council, Pretoria (South Africa).
Identifiers - Location: South Africa