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Insights into the reversal error from a study with South African and Spanish prospective primary teachers


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Title Insights into the reversal error from a study with South African and Spanish prospective primary teachers
Creator Soneira, Calos Bansilal, Sarah Govender, Reginald
Subject — algebra; reversal error; word problems; word order matching; static comparison; pre-service mathematics teachers
Description This study, using a quantitative approach, examined Spanish and South African pre-service teachers’ responses to translating word problems based on direct proportionality into equations. The participants were 79 South African and 211 Spanish prospective primary school teachers who were in their second year of a Bachelor of Education degree. The study’s general objective was to compare the students’ proficiency in expressing direct proportionality word problems as equations, with a particular focus on the extent of the reversal error among the students’ responses. Furthermore, the study sought to test the explanatory power of word order matching and the static comparison as causes of the reversal error in the two contexts. The study found that South African students had a higher proportion of correct responses across all the items. While nearly all the errors made by Spanish students were reversals, the South African group barely committed reversal errors. However, a subgroup of the South African students made errors consisting of equations that do not make sense in the situation, suggesting that they had poor foundational knowledge of the multiplicative comparison relation and did not understand the functioning of the algebraic language. The study also found that the word order matching strategy has some explanatory power for the reversal error in both contexts. However, the static comparison strategy offers explanatory power only in the Spanish context, suggesting that there may be a difference in curriculum and instructional approaches in the middle and secondary years of schooling, which is when equations are taught.
Publisher AOSIS Publishing
Date 2021-11-25
Type info:eu-repo/semantics/article info:eu-repo/semantics/publishedVersion — Quasi-Experimental
Format text/html application/epub+zip text/xml application/pdf
Identifier 10.4102/pythagoras.v42i1.613
Source Pythagoras; Vol 42, No 1 (2021); 11 pages 2223-7895 1012-2346
Language eng
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Coverage — — >17; male+female; South African and Spaniard
Rights Copyright (c) 2021 Calos Soneira, Sarah Bansilal, Reginald Govender