In this study we focused on one of the recurring issues in the learning of mathematics, which is students’ errors and misconceptions in learning algebra. We investigated Year 7 students on how they manipulate and interpret letters in solving routine algebraic problems to understand their thinking process. This is a case study of qualitative nature, focusing on one pencil and paper test, observation, and in-depth interviews of students in one particular school in Brunei Darussalam. The themes that emerged from interviews based on the test showed students’ interpretation of letters categorized as “combining” - which involved the combining of numbers during addition, “equating a letter as 1” – where a letter in any algebraic expression is considered to be equal to 1, “misconception of equal sign” – where students see equal sign as taking the value or letter which is closest to the equal sign, “inconsistency with own rule” – where students made up their own misguided rules but utilize other rules for similar situation and finally, “seeing letters as an abbreviations for objects” – where students consider the letters as representing objects.
Letters and Symbols, Algebra Misconception, Students’ Errors in Algebra, Case Study, Qualitative Research
This research was supported by [FRGS/1/2016/SSI09/UIAM/02/10]. We would like to thank the Ministry of Education for providing us with the grant and make this research possible.
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Recommended APA Citation
Khalid, M., Yakop, F., & Ibrahim, H. (2020). Year 7 Students’ Interpretation of Letters and Symbols in Solving Routine Algebraic Problems. The Qualitative Report, 25(11), 4167-4181. Retrieved from https://nsuworks.nova.edu/tqr/vol25/iss11/20