Original Research

Teachers’ explanations of learners’ errors in standardised mathematics assessments

Yael Shalem, Ingrid Sapire, M. Alejandra Sorto
Pythagoras | Vol 35, No 1 | a254 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/pythagoras.v35i1.254 | © 2014 Yael Shalem, Ingrid Sapire, M. Alejandra Sorto | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 31 January 2014 | Published: 04 November 2014

About the author(s)

Yael Shalem, School of Education, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa
Ingrid Sapire, School of Education, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa
M. Alejandra Sorto, Mathematics Department, Texas State University, United States


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Abstract

With the increased use of standardised mathematics assessments at the classroom level, teachers are encouraged, and sometimes required, to use data from these assessments to inform their practice. As a consequence, teacher educators and researchers are starting to focus on the development of analytical tools that will help them determine how teachers interpret learners’ work, in particular learners’ errors in the context of standardised and other assessments. To detect variation and associations between and within the different aspects of teacher knowledge related to mathematical error analysis, we developed an instrument with six criteria based on aspects of teachers’ knowledge related to explaining and diagnosing learners’ errors. In this study we provide evidence of the usability of the criteria by coding 572 explanations given by groups of mathematics educators (teachers and district officials) in a professional development context. The findings consist of observable trends and associations between the different criteria that describe the nature of teachers’ explanations of learners’ errors.

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