n Journal of Educational Studies - Understanding of Grade 10 learner errors and misconceptions in elementary algebra

Special issue 1
  • ISSN : 1680-7456



This article is about ways on how to increase mathematics learning for low achieving students via a teaching intervention strategy that used learners' errors andmisconceptions in elementary algebra as a resource. The focus of the investigation was the extent to which a pedagogy which focused on identified learner errors and misconceptions in algebra could help learners to overcome their errors. Data collection was done in three phases: (i) a pre-test to locate learners' errors and misconceptions in elementary algebra; (ii) a pedagogical intervention which discussed identified learner errors with the whole class, and a further in-depth focus subgroup of learners who were identified as the worst performers and, (iii) a post test to measure the learning gains. The study found that some types of learner errors in elementary algebra can be reduced as a result of the pedagogical intervention. Some of the errors, for example, the cancellation error, persisted despite the intervention. An implication of this research for removing barriers to mathematics achievement is that teacher education curricula should consider including courses that support teaching anchored on learners' errors and misconceptions on specific mathematics topics to enable successful learning of mathematics to learners from disadvantaged communities.

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