A Critical Analysis of Errors Made by Rural and Urban Students in ‘O’ Level Mathematics Paper 1 (4008/1) in Shurugwi and Gweru Districts, Zimbabwe


  • Silvanos Chirume Zimbabwe Open University




mathematical error, “O” Level students, rural students, urban students, types of errors, error analysis, error rectification


This study critically investigated and analysed mathematical errors made by forty rural and urban Zimbabwe Ordinary Level students who wrote a test adopted from the ZIMSEC 2012 past examination paper (4008/1). Twenty students at a rural school in Shurugwi District and twenty students of similar characteristics (except for location or district) at an urban school in Gweru District were randomly sampled. Questions 1 and 7 (arithmetic and algebraic manipulations), 2 and 21 (psychomotor skills- measurement, shading, locus and geometric constructions) and 8 and 15 (word problems) were purposively sampled and students’ written and marked scripts were subjected to a critical analysis of errors. The errors were classified into eight categories proposed by Dufresne (2012) and these were error in knowledge, error in skill, error in concept, error in making connections, error in strategy effectiveness, error in convention, error in process and error in format. Mixed methods (QUAL-quan, content and interpretivist) analyses of errors made by the rural students and those made by the urban students were made. The study offers possible strategies that teachers in rural and urban areas can use to rectify students’ mathematical errors in the classroom situation and contributes to the body of knowledge on mathematical error analysis.    

Author Biography

Silvanos Chirume, Zimbabwe Open University

Lecturer and Programme Coordinator for BSc Mathematics and Statistics, Zimbabwe Open University


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How to Cite

Chirume, S. (2017). A Critical Analysis of Errors Made by Rural and Urban Students in ‘O’ Level Mathematics Paper 1 (4008/1) in Shurugwi and Gweru Districts, Zimbabwe. Asian Journal of Education and E-Learning, 5(2). https://doi.org/10.24203/ajeel.v5i2.4652