Math 7-9

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Math 7-9 > Strategies > Error Analysis

Error Analysis


Analyzing incorrect worked examples is especially beneficial for helping students develop a conceptual understanding of mathematical processes. Studying their own errors can also help students see when they have chosen incorrect strategies, improving their procedural knowledge. More importantly, error analysis can also help students identify their misconceptions and support them in correcting their understandings.

Use It in the Classroom

At 6:55, see how this teacher uses error analysis in math centers. In a small group, the teacher and students discuss common errors in fraction problems, building students' Proportional Reasoning skills.

  • Teachers can have small groups examine a carefully constructed set of worked examples, supporting their Operations and Mathematical Flexibility. Research has shown that mixing correct and incorrect problems is most beneficial, particularly because students can compare effective and ineffective strategies. However, these benefits show only when students have some experience with the concepts; that is, students do not benefit from error analysis when they first start to learn a concept.
  • Design It into Your Product

  • Teachers can use products like Fluid Math to write math problems with common errors or to create incorrect problems from past topics to use for interleaving. Teachers can also use this tool to record students' mathematical thinking while discussing the problem as a class, helping students build their Metacognition by analyzing their mistakes.
  • Factors Supported by this Strategy