Writing Equations in Algebra: Investigation of Students’ Misconceptions

  • Dr. Zarina Akhtar International Islamic University, Islamabad Pakistan
  • Abdur Rashid Lecturer, Department of Education, Shaheed Banazir Bhutto University Sheringal, Upper Dir, Pakistan
  • Dr. Sajjad Hussain Department of Education, University of Swat
Keywords: Algebra, Writing Equations, Secondary Students, Misconceptions


Algebra is blamed as an abstract way of thinking in mathematics learning. Writing equations from given text is a skill. Logical and step by step noting information help to write the correct equation. It is transferring text to symbols. This study aimed to investigate secondary school student's misconceptions in writing equations in algebra. 414 secondary school students enrolled at 4 Islamabad Model Schools of sector Islamabad was the sample of the study. A multiple-choice test based on 4 items was used as an instrument. The test has 4 statements and 4 options from which one is the correct answer and others are related to some misconceptions of students. Test was administered during their class. Student's response patterns were observed. Frequency percentages and ratios were used to analyze data. Two types of misconceptions "arithmetic process" and "missing reference" were identified in student's responses whereas the other three misconceptions "pro-numeral as unit", "addictive nature" and "changes" were not reported by students' responses. It is concluded that the main reason behind these misconceptions seems related to classroom practice. Students try to translate words into the arithmetic process to write an equation by given text. Further, they do not focus on reference terms given in text and they ignore/miss it while writing equations. It is recommended to the teachers they need to clear the concept given in word problems and give teach them with logic what is meant by which word in the problem. There is a need for focused classroom activities to overcome these misconceptions.