An investigation of eight grade students’ misconceptions regarding the concept of variable

Karacı G., Erbaş A. K.

7th International Conference on Research in Education, Çanakkale, Turkey, 27 - 29 April 2017, pp.222

  • Publication Type: Conference Paper / Summary Text
  • City: Çanakkale
  • Country: Turkey
  • Page Numbers: pp.222
  • Middle East Technical University Affiliated: Yes


The purpose of the current study is to investigate Turkish eight grade students’ difficulties and misconceptions

regarding the notion of a variable. By utilizing survey design, the data will be collected from 100 eight grade

students attending two different public schools through a diagnostic test developed by Lucariello, Tine, and

Ganley (2014). Of the 9 multiple choice items, the first three items are about whether the students have any

misunderstanding that a variable can be ignored. The following three items are about students’ misunderstanding

that a variable is a label for an object. Finally, the last three items are about the erroneous understanding of

students that a variable is a specific unknown, rather than that it can hold for varying values. By utilizing a

descriptive analysis approach, tables showing frequencies of students’ answers will be constructed for different

types of misconceptions that the students have. For further analysis of the results, the researcher will conduct an

interview with 10 students regarding their answers. It is expected that the results will reveal some of the most

common misconceptions reported in the literature such as “a variable can be ignored, a variable is a label for an

object, and a variable is a specific unknown” that Turkish students in eight grade would also have. The results

would help to critically examine instructional materials and teaching practices in middle grades and guide

teachers in building an instruction to cope with such misconceptions before students are formally introduced

with the concept of functions in nineth grade which requires a solid understanding of the notion of variables.

Anahtar Kelimeler : algebra, misconception, variable, middle school students