Students’ Early Grade Understanding of the Equal Sign and Non-standard Equations in Jordan and India

Melinda S. Eichhorn, Lindsey E. Perry, Aarnout Brombacher

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Many students around the world are exposed to a rote teaching style in mathematics that emphasizes memorization of procedures. Students are frequently presented with standard types of equations in their textbooks, in which the equal sign is immediately preceding the answer (a + b = c). This exposure can lead to many misconceptions, such as thinking that the equal sign means “do something” or “the answer is.” This paper describes students’ understanding of the equal sign when solving nonstandard equations in Jordan on the Early Grade Mathematics Assessment (EGMA) and in India on a number sense screener. Common misconceptions are shared, as well as strategies for improving instruction with the equal sign and non-standard equations to prevent future errors.


Equal sign, Early grade mathematics, Addition and subtraction

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Eichhorn, M.S., Perry, L.E., & Brombacher, A. (2018). Students’ early grade understanding of the equal sign and non-standard equations in Jordan and India. International Journal of Research in Education and Science (IJRES), 4(2), 655-669. DOI:10.21890/ijres.432520


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