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DOI

10.14221/ajte.1986v11n1.6

Abstract

A mathematical error which involves the reversal of natural referents for symbols is displayed to a substantial degree by high school teachers and university staff among others. It has been shown, moreover, that the phenomenon is difficult to correct by teaching methods. In the present study, a sample of final-year pre-service Education students destined for secondary-school teaching was asked to write a short verbal statement giving the same information as a simple algebraic equation and to construct an equation corresponding to a simple statement printed in plain language. A substantial proportion of students displayed reversal in both equation-interpretation and equation-formation modes. Students specialising in some academic fields appeared to be more prone to the error than those with other specialisations.

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Link to publisher version (DOI)

10.14221/ajte.1986v11n1.6