Identifying Preservice Teachers’ Concept-based and Procedure-based Error patterns in Multiplying and Dividing Decimals

Eunmi Joung, Young Rae Kim
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The purposes of this study are to report current Preservice Teachers’ (PTs) decimal abilities regarding the types of error patterns that they commit and to analyze characteristics of the errors in the problems posed for multiplication and division in decimals. We have determined common concept- and procedure-based errors made by the PTs. 37 PTs in the USA were asked to complete two decimal multiplication problems and two decimal division problems. Results indicated that four major types of error patterns could be detected: Misunderstanding of the place value, misunderstanding of mathematical equivalence, arithmetic errors, and reversing the positions of divisor and dividend. PTs were more likely to have concept- than procedure-based errors. This indicates that PTs may have limited knowledge on the definition of decimals and the meaning of mathematical equivalence, as well as a lack of understanding of place value. Consequently, we believe that the learning of the concept of decimals requires conceptual change. The concept-based errors found intersect with those of students in primary school, so this helps Teacher Education programs in ways that promote PTs’ mathematical understanding of decimal operations on a conceptual basis to prevent their future students from making errors.


Decimal error patterns, Concept-based errors, Procedure-based errors, Conceptual change

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Joung, E., & Kim, Y. R. (2022). Identifying preservice teachers’ concept-based and procedure-based error patterns in multiplying and dividing decimals. International Journal of Education in Mathematics, Science, and Technology (IJEMST), 10(3), 549-567.



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International Journal of Education in Mathematics, Science and Technology (IJEMST) 
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Editors: Ismail Sahin & Mack Shelley

Place of Publication: Turkey & Name of Publisher: Ismail Sahin

ISSN: 2147-611X (Online)

International Society for Technology, Education and Science (ISTES)