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error misconception quadratic equation

An Analysis of Errors and Misconceptions in the Study of Quadratic Equations

Jane Tendere , Lillias H. N. Mutambara

This study attempts to investigate the errors and misconception that form three students reveal using symbolic equation and word-problem representatio.

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This study attempts to investigate the errors and misconception that form three students reveal using symbolic equation and word-problem representations. The participants were thirty form three students, from a high school in Zimbabwe. Three mathematics teachers from the same school also took part. Data was collected from the students through a questionnaire, a test, follow up interviews and semi-structured interviews. Semi structured interviews were also conducted with the three mathematics teachers. In data analysis, the students’ written responses and data from questionnaire were qualitatively analysed to determine the nature of the students’ errors when solving quadratic equations. The results revealed that the students had difficulties in solving symbolic quadratic equations by the factorisation method as well as the use of the quadratic formula such that many misconceptions were exposed. The following types of errors were revealed: conceptual, procedural and technical. It was found out that it is an advantage for teachers to teach students with the knowledge of these errors in an effort to eliminate them.

Keywords: Error, misconception, quadratic equation.

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