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

error misconception quadratic equation

Jane Tendere , Lillias H. N. Mutambara


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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.

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10.12973/ejmse.1.2.81
Pages: 81-90
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The purpose of this paper is to report a part of a calculus research project, about the performance of a group of pre-service mathematics teachers on two tasks on limit and differentiation of the trigonometric sine function in which the unit of angle measurement was in degrees. Most of the pre-service teachers were not cognizant of the unit of angle measurement in the typical differentiation formula, and a number of participants recognized the condition on the unit of angle measurement but did not translate this to the correct procedure for performing differentiation. The result also shows that most of the participants were not able to associate the derivative formula with the process of deriving it from the first principle. Consequently, they did not associate it with finding  . In the process of evaluating this limit, the pre-service teachers exhibited further misconceptions about division of a number by zero.

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10.12973/ejmse.2.1.1
Pages: 1-12
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Effectiveness of Semiosis for Solving the Quadratic Equation

de saussure model effectiveness peirce model quadratic equation semiosis

Ernest Kofi Davis , Clement Ayarebilla Ali , Douglas Darko Agyei


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The study examines the effectiveness of employing semiosis in the teaching and learning of the Quadratic Equation. The first goal is to compare results of De Saussure and Peirce models within the semiotic theory. The second goal is to determine the commonest effective semiotic objects student teachers mostly employ to solve for the roots in quadratic equations. This research method was mixed methods concurrent and adopted both quantitative and qualitative approach. The instruments for the study were teacher-made tests and interview guide structured on the likert scale. In the teacher-made tests, two sets of twenty questions were set and distributed to the respondents. The sets of questions were similar and each twenty questions were based on De Saussure and Peirce Semiotic Models. The analyses employed both quantitative and qualitative. In the quantitative analysis, three categorical independent variables were fixed on and Pierre and De Saussaure models, objects of Pierre and De Saussaure models, and diachronicity, trichronicity, categorization and quadratic equations, after satisfying normality and independent assumptions of t-test and ANOVA techniques. The qualitative analysis with ensured anonymity, confidentiality and privacy of respondents and transcribed responses from semi-structured interview guide. The results of the commonest semiotic objects improved significantly classroom interactions with Peirce model than with De Saussure model. They perceived the Peirce model as being broader, comprehensive, universal and ICT-compliant. We therefore recommended further quasi-experimental studies on semiotic objects to improve upon the use of cultural objects.

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10.12973/ejmse.2.1.13
Pages: 13-21
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In Nigeria, most teachers among other things lack the necessary teaching skills, and mastery of subject matter for effective teaching of mathematics at the secondary school level. These deficiencies have often resulted in high and repeated failure rates in national and standard mathematics examinations. The present study investigated the ability of mathematics teachers to construct practical and realistic word problems in bearing and distance toward mitigating the deficiencies. The research methods adopted were exploratory and descriptive surveys due to the need to explore and analyze the abilities using quantitative techniques. Sample consisted of 292 (35.48%) mathematics teachers who took part in the in-service training workshop organized by the Mathematical Association of Nigeria (MAN) in Plateau state, Nigeria. Purposive sampling technique was used to select the sample that involved the workshop participants only. The instrument ‘construction of practical and realistic word problems in bearing and distance test (CPRWPBDT)’ was used for data collection while the analysis was carried out using simple percentages, mean scores and one-way ANOVA. The findings of the study among other things revealed that the mathematics teacher participants constructed practical and realistic word problems in bearing and distance within 91.67% completion rate, 70.45% of the problems constructed were within the context, at least 75% rate of correctness with little difficulties/errors was observed in sketching (65.90%), and reality (40.90%). The variations observed within the participants in the construction of the problems were statistically not significant. Thus it was recommended among other things that mathematics teachers should undergo regular in-service workshop training to help in developing essential skills themselves for constructing practical/realistic word problems in bearing and distance; and should avoid unnecessary errors for meaningful teaching and learning of bearing and distance.

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10.12973/ejmse.2.1.35
Pages: 35-45
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Exploring Zimbabwean A-Level Mathematics Learners’ Understanding of the Determinant Concept

linear algebra matrix and determinant understanding

Conilius Chagwiza , Lillias Hamufari Natsai Mutambara , Gladys Sunzuma


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Learners bring prior knowledge to their learning environments. This prior knowledge is said to have an effect on how they encode and later retrieve new information learned. This research aimed at exploring ‘A’ level mathematics learners’ understanding of the determinant concept of 3×3 matrices. A problem-solving approach was used to determine learners' conceptions and errors made in calculating the determinant. To identify the conceptions; a paper and pencil test, learner interviews, and learner questionnaires were used. Ten learners participated in the research and purposive sampling was used to select learners who are doing the syllabus 6042/2 Zimbabwe School Examination Council (ZIMSEC). Data was analyzed qualitatively through an analysis of each learners' problem-solving performance where common themes were identified amongst the learners’ work. Results from the themes showed that Advanced level learners faced some challenges in calculating the determinant of 3×3 matrices. Learners were having challenges with the place signs used in 3×3 matrices, especially when using the method of cofactors. The findings reveal that learners had low levels of engagement with the concepts and the abstract nature of the concepts was the major source of these challenges. The study recommends that; teachers should engage learners for lifelong learning and apply some mathematical definitions in real-world problems. Teachers should address the issues raised in this research during the teaching and learning process. In addition, teachers should engage learners more through seminars where learners get to mingle with others from other schools.

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10.12973/ejmse.2.2.85
Pages: 85-100
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Development Learning Video of Integral Application Based on Conceptual Comprehension

calculus learning media shape area learning video

Sumargiyani , Suparman , Nur Robiah Nofikusumawati Peni


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During online learning, students were having difficulties in understanding the concept of the application of integrals to find an area. The provided materials in PowerPoint and learning sources such as books are still insufficient to understand the concept. The students’ feedback showed that a learning video is required to help the students understand the concept of the application of integrals. This research aims to develop a learning video concerning the concept comprehension of integrals’ application and determine its validity and practicality. This research utilized the analysis, design, development, implementation, evaluation (ADDIE) development model, where the subjects of this research were the students of mathematics education at the Ahmad Dahlan University. The data collection was conducted by using questionnaires and interviews. The obtained data was then analyzed for its validity and practicality. The media validity test result shows valid criteria with the assessment of the material expert of 4.629 (very good) and valid criteria with the material validity test of 4.735 (very good). The responses of the students to the learning video show 3.50 with the criteria of Very Good. Based on such results, this concept comprehension learning video is feasible to use.

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10.12973/ejmse.3.1.49
Pages: 49-60
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The focus of this action research was to adapt Bruner’s 3-tier theory to enhance conceptual knowledge of teacher trainees on integer operations. It looks into how learners' conceptual knowledge of integer operations changes over time, as well as their attitudes toward using the 3-tier model. Eighty-two (82) teacher trainees, who were in their first year semester one of the 2020/2021 academic year were purposely selected for the study. Data was collected using test and semi-structured interviews. The study found that using Bruner’s 3-tier theory contributed to substantial gains in conceptual knowledge on integers operations among learners.  It was also found that learners proffered positive compliments about the Concrete-Iconic-Symbolic (C-I-S) construct of lesson presentation and how it built their understanding to apply knowledge on integers operations. Learners also largely proffered positive image about C-I-S construct as it aroused interest and activated unmotivated learners. On these bases, the study concludes that lessons presentations should mirror C-I-S construct in order to alleviate learning difficulties encountered on integer operations. To do this, the study suggests that workshops on lesson presentation using C-I-S construct be organized for both subject tutors, mentors and lead mentors to re-equip their knowledge and to buy-in the idea among others.

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10.12973/ejmse.3.2.61
Pages: 61-77
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This paper reports an exploratory study on the pre-service teachers’ content knowledge on school calculus. A calculus instrument assessing the pre-service teachers’ iconic thinking, algorithmic thinking and formal thinking related to various concepts in school calculus was administered to a group of pre-service mathematics teachers. Their performance on five of the items is reported in this paper. Other than their good performance in the iconic recognition of stationary points, their recognition on points of inflexion, differentiability and notion of minimum points was relatively poor. In addition, they appeared to lack the algorithmic flexibility in testing the nature of stationary points and the formal thinking about definition of an extremum point. The implications of the findings are discussed.  

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10.12973/ejmse.3.2.91
Pages: 91-103
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The current study investigated whether: (1) using an interactive presentation (IP) platform could affect the amount of usage of the practices of making orchestrating mathematical discourse- sequencing and connecting students' responses. (2) using an interactive presentation (IP) platform could affect the amount of narratives constructed by students. Fifty seventh-grade students participated in the study; those students were divided into control and experimental groups. Qualitative and quantitative analyses were performed based on voice recordings and field notes. The results revealed that the teacher using (IP) asked nearly three times more questions that connected students’ responses (i.e., questions that involved valuing students' ideas, exploring students' answers, incorporating students’ background knowledge, and encouraging student-to-student communication). We also saw that the students participated in the learning processes. The students in the experimental group presented three times as many narratives as those in the control group. We present several excerpts from the transcripts of the classroom discussions to illustrate our findings. Discussion of the implications and limitations of these results and make recommendations based on those results.

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10.12973/ejmse.4.1.1
Pages: 1-17
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This study tested hypotheses of a hypothetical model determining the influence of teacher clarity and real-world applications while teaching group theory concepts on students’ achievement in modern algebra. The data collected from 139 undergraduate students were analyzed by regression analysis using Stata14’s structural equation model building and estimation. The path regression analysis of the model using SEM model building and estimation confirmed the research hypotheses. First, the utilization of real-world application problems while teaching group theory concepts has a significant influence on students’ achievement in modern algebra. Second, the clear presentation of group theory concepts by the teacher has a significant influence on students’ achievement in modern algebra. Finally, both teachers’ clear presentation of group theory concepts and utilization of its real-world applications have a significant influence on students’ achievement in modern algebra.

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10.12973/ejmse.4.2.111
Pages: 111-119
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155
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Predicting Learning Interest among Taiwanese Students in the Context of Big Science Issues

big science covid-19 learning enjoyment learning interest socio-scientific issues

Brady Michael Jack , Chi-Chen Chen , Hsin-Hui Wang , Thomas J. Smith


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Research shows that learning enjoyment in specific socio-scientific issues (SSI) plays an important role in predicting grade 10 students’ learning interest and learning enjoyment (i.e., genuine interest) in SSI subjects generally. However, it remains unexplored whether learning enjoyment also mediates a predictive effect of learning interest in a Big Science SSI of pressing contemporary global concern—COVID-19—on grade 12 high school students’ learning interest in SSI generally. The purpose of this study is to investigate how learning enjoyment may mediate the predictive effect of learning interest in the specific Big Science SSI of COVID-19 specifically on students’ learning interest in SSI subjects generally. Latent variable modeling using data collected from grade 12 students (N = 691) showed personal perceptions of learning enjoyment in SSI partially mediated the predictive effect of learning interest in the SSI of COVID-19 on learning interest in other Big Science SSI subjects. Implications for promoting among science educators and policy specialists the active development of students’ individual interests and involvement in other 21st century Big Science SSI challenges are forwarded. 

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10.12973/ejmse.5.2.121
Pages: 121-133
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