Error analysis as a sub-set of assessment is an important tool in teaching and learning, and can be applied in any learning area. In mathematics education, error analysis involves analysis of correct, partially correct and incorrect methods of solution.

The key learnings suggest that error analysis can be used as an effective strategy in any project aiming to improve pedagogical practice, as long as certain enabling conditions are met. These include regular and ongoing training and practice in conducting error analysis, preferably in real live contexts, and including structured reflection on the process. Error analysis can also improve teachers’ own subject matter expertise, though this is more difficult to measure than improvements in pedagogical practice.

  • Teachers need sustained and regular engagement over a period of time with concepts and practice in error analysis in order to become proficient in its application.
  • Mathematical Content Knowledge is also a critical factor in successfully using error analysis for teaching and learning. 
  • Participation in error analysis training and practice can help teachers identify their own subject matter content knowledge gaps in maths, and correct these gaps.
  • Training on error analysis seems to work best in real contexts such as the ANAs and live classrooms. Work done in the context of the ANAs supports teachers in the diagnostic element required from them by policy.
  • Formally structured reflection on lessons and analysis of videos on lessons is helpful. 
  • How long individual teachers are involved in a project is an important factor. Pedagogical practice definitely improves, in relation both generic teaching skills and mathematically orientated pedagogies; those who participate the longest show the highest quality of improvement. This suggests that short-term or once-off interventions are not effective in delivering improvements in pedagogical practice.
  • Teachers improve in their questioning methods and sensitivities to learner confusion once they have been exposed to error analysis. Meaningful questions draw out answers which serve as a platform for explanation and correction of misconceptions. However, teachers find it difficult to extend better probing methods beyond individual learners into whole class teaching.
  • A baseline analysis of subject matter expertise should be done at the start of the project so that improvements in content knowledge could have been measured more efficiently
  • There is a need, expressed by teachers and confirmed through observation, for more input on content knowledge. Support via an on-line platform is one avenue that could be investigated.
  • Error analysis could be pertinent to other projects aiming at the improvement of pedagogical practice.

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