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The effect of worked examples on student learning and error anticipation in algebra

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Abstract

The present study examines the effectiveness of incorporating worked examples with prompts for self-explanation into a middle school math textbook. Algebra 1 students (N = 75) completed an equation-solving unit with textbooks either containing the original practice problems or in which a portion of those problems were converted into a combination of correct, incorrect, and incomplete examples. Students completed pre- and posttest measures of algebraic feature knowledge, equation-solving skills, and error anticipation. Example-based textbook assignments increased students’ equation-solving skills and their ability to anticipate errors one might make when solving problems. Differences in students’ anticipation of various types of errors are also examined. Error anticipation, a particular form of negative knowledge, is a potentially important skill that relates to algebraic feature knowledge and equation-solving skills.

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Data availability

The data that support the findings of this study are available on request from the corresponding author. The data are not publicly available due to privacy or ethical restrictions.

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Funding

Funding for this research was provided by the Institute of Education Sciences, the United States Department of Education, through Grant R305C100024 to WestEd. The opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not represent views of the Institute or the United States Department of Education.

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Correspondence to Christina Areizaga Barbieri.

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Barbieri, C.A., Booth, J.L., Begolli, K.N. et al. The effect of worked examples on student learning and error anticipation in algebra. Instr Sci 49, 419–439 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11251-021-09545-6

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