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Self-Correct Math Mistakes


Mathematics All Ages Strategy


Self-regulation Working Memory Attention Visual Discrimination Processing Speed Spatial Perception

Self-Correct Math Mistakes

If your student has scattered math errors

Instruction And Practice

  1. Objective: Students will take time to understand the root cause of math errors so that they know which strategies they might need to improve over time.
  2. Teach students to analyze their math errors using questions (next slide) to help them figure out the root cause of what went wrong.

*print* Student Guide: Understanding Math Errors

  1. Conceptual: Did you not fully understand the concept? Do you need more instruction on this topic or particular problem type?
  2. Computational: Did you make a mistake with an operation that you know? Consider if you need to improve automaticity with key facts or use graph paper or multi-colored pencils to more easily see your numbers. Did you make a mistake with mental math? Try showing your work or use strategies for double checking.
  3. Wrote it Incorrectly: Did you make a mistake in copying a number? Double check the original problem with what you have written.
  4. Did not Follow Directions: Did you misunderstand the instructions? Maybe you need to re-read the instructions or use these strategies.
  5. Misunderstood the Problem: Did you understand the math but misunderstand what the question was asking? Consider strategies for annotating word problems or drawing pictures to support your understanding.
  6. Forgot: Did you understand what to do when studying but simply couldn't remember during the test? Consider if you could write notes in the margins before you begin the test, or if you needed to study with better retention strategies.

Why It Works (the Science Of Learning)!

In order for students to improve, they need to understand WHY they made the mistake they did. While mistakes that come from conceptual misunderstanding will require more instruction, many math mistakes arise from what are often called "careless" errors. Since careless errors can be rooted in different challenges, uncovering the reason for the error and providing concrete strategies for improvement can make an enormous difference.

Best-suited for students with weaker: Attention, Inhibition, Long-term Memory, Metacognition, Short-Term Memory, Working Memory, Processing Speed (Source: Digital Promise Learner Variability Project)