Original Research

Error analysis in fraction addition and subtraction using structured observed learning outcomes

Alphius Dube, Jeremiah S. Maseko
African Journal of Teacher Education and Development | Vol 3, No 1 | a53 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ajoted.v3i1.53 | © 2024 Alphius Dube, Jeremiah S. Maseko | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 07 March 2024 | Published: 27 June 2024

About the author(s)

Alphius Dube, Department of Childhood Education, Faculty of Education, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa
Jeremiah S. Maseko, Department of Childhood Education, Faculty of Education, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa

Abstract

Background: Fractions are important because of their critical role in more advanced mathematics. While they are central to mathematics learning, they pose a challenge to learners. The use of the structured observed learning outcomes (SOLO) taxonomy attempts to assist teachers to analyse the learners’ errors.

Aim: This study reports on analysing Grade 8 learners’ errors in the addition and subtraction of fractions using the SOLO taxonomy.

Setting: The study focusses on the errors made by learners when solving problems on the addition and subtraction of fractions. Participants were drawn from Grade 8 learners (N = 115) in a school in inner Johannesburg city.

Methods: Qualitative and quantitative data were collected from a paper and pencil test on addition and subtraction of fractions given to learners to solve. The learners’ errors were analysed using the SOLO taxonomy framework.

Results: Findings indicate that learners made errors in the addition and subtraction of fractions that were classified in the different levels of the SOLO taxonomy, ranging from the unistructural to the extended abstract.

Conclusion: The study concludes that it is crucial to analyse the learners’ errors when solving addition and subtraction of fractions to determine their understanding of working with fractions and using the SOLO taxonomy framework can effectively map the learners’ specific level of working with fractions.

Contribution: The study’s results will equip in-service teachers, student teachers and teacher trainers with knowledge of learners’ different levels of errors when dealing with addition and subtraction of fractions to help learners overcome these errors.


Keywords

SOLO taxonomy; addition; subtraction; fractions; pre-structural; unistructural; multi-structural.

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 4: Quality education

Metrics

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