Computation Errors On Measures Of Central Tendency By Masters Students: Implications For Andragogy
Chinamasa, Emmanuel .
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The purpose of the study was to identify computation errors on statistical measures of central tendency made by masters students. It was motivated by the desire to find an error basis for targeted remedial activities for the group. The study used a case study of one group of students in one university. Data was collected from a census of 103 students'answer scripts analysed for errors. These were complemented by answers from a simple random sample of 60 students who responded to Newman's (1977) error analysis prompts. The study found that the majority of students are in the (46-50) years group. There are more male than female students. Errors revealed include results interpretation, incorrect formula decoding, illogical presentation of solutions, substitution and addition of decimals. Possible sources of errors include omission of a pre-requisite exercise on basic arithmetic, algebra and algebra operations, incorrect operation order stemming from rote learning and hurried solution presentation, use of large group making it difficult for tutor to attend to individual weaknesses, use of power point for a large group of adults whose eye sight can be affected by light intensity variations affects formula decoding. Newman's. (1977) error analysis revealed that adult students' computation errors are more pronounced on the transformation, process and encoding levels. The study has the following implications for andragogy: 1. Structuring of introductory arithmetic and algebra exercises. 2. Involving students in data collection rather than presenting hypothetical cases for numerical calculations. 3. Linking graphical, to algebraic solutions for evaluation , and concept development. 4. Asking students to exchange notebooks and mark each other's notes guided by the tutor who points at error target points. 5. Complementing power-point presentations with photocopies of example solutions given to students as handouts.