Student Errors in Mathematics
home page

In my Dissertation, I used several methodologies (literature search, multivariate experiment, factor analysis, ontological deconstruction, protocol analysis, clinical study, and direct remediation) to show that almost every math error made by 7th grade algebra students is unique, arising from unique sources, contexts and motives never to be repeated. The structure that teachers see in error behavior is constructed by the teacher, presumably so that teaching is easier. Errors, however, are not about the structure of the subject matter (like negative numbers or the distributive rule), they are about the immediate and idiosyncratic social structure of the classroom.


∆ math errors
virtual worlds
iconic math
spatial arithmetic

site structure
Errors are demand-driven, goal-driven, compensatory, extra-domain, and the result of multiple hypotheses about what to do. We should teach correct behavior, not try to figure out why an answer is wrong. Learning is situated.

Analyzing Errors in Elementary Mathematics, Stanford School of Education, 1987.

Not Yet Constructed