Development and Validation of an Instrument to Measure the Effect in respect to Error Commission in Mathematics

Abstract Mistakes may have a negative connotation and can cause negative affects in students toward mathematics. The objective of this research is to develop and validate an instrument which measures the affect of making mistakes in mathematics, and the affect towards mathematics due to errors. The instrument items are based on the relation between the error commission and the three affectivity components: emotions, beliefs, and attitudes. It was administrated to 319 freshmen in the Business School at a private university in Guadalajara, Mexico. The instrument showed strong reliability with an alpha Cronbach of 0,9. Factor analysis confirmed its validity with five constructs related to errors, that explain 52,73% of the total variance: 1) negative emotions and affects on making mistakes, 2) favorable conduct towards the use of errors as a learning tool, 3) mistaken conceptions in regards to usefulness of errors, 4) negative beliefs and emotions towards mathematics due to making mistakes, and 5) the belief that one can learn mathematics from errors. To be able to measure the affectivity students have developed towards errors in mathematics and towards mathematics due to making mistakes as well as their conceptions about errors, may offer a clearer view about of the error culture they have experienced during their school time. Due to this experience, beliefs and attitudes were formed and their behavior may tend to be favorable or not favorable towards their mathematics learning.