A Systematic Review of Relevant Variables in the Production of Errors in Mathematics

Abstract Issues involving the identification, analysis, and interpretation of mistakes made by mathematics students are not recent, although much still can be investigated on this subject. The aim of the present study was to identify, from the existing literature, relevant variables in the production of errors in mathematics. A systematic review of the literature of the period between 2012 and 2017 was independently performed by two researchers to evaluate the concordance between them. We searched the ERIC, PsycArticles, SciELO and Math Educ Database databases with the descriptors error AND mathematics OR math, error AND procedure AND mathematics OR math, error pattern AND mathematics OR math, analysis of errors AND mathematics OR math, systemic error AND mathematics OR math and their correspondents in Portuguese and Spanish. A total of 415 articles were identified, of which 31 were analyzed, dealing with error production. The variables identified as responsible for producing the most common errors refer to the student's internal causes or unspecified difficulties and errors in the teaching procedures. Responsibility for error is usually attributed to the students and the main trend of the research is only to inform the production of errors, since only a few studies have indicated ways to avoid or deal with errors produced by students in a specific and descriptive way. We emphasize importance and necessity of investigating educational practices to prevent and deal with errors.