Original Research

Underlying factors related to errors in financial mathematics due to incorrect or rigidity of thinking

Xolani Khalo, Anass Bayaga
The Journal for Transdisciplinary Research in Southern Africa | Vol 10, No 3 | a181 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/td.v10i3.181 | © 2014 Xolani Khalo, Anass Bayaga | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 07 March 2016 | Published: 30 December 2014

About the author(s)

Xolani Khalo,, South Africa
Anass Bayaga, University of Zululand,, South Africa

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The main aim of the study was (1) to identify the underlying factors related to errors due to incorrect association, and (2) to understand why learners continue to make such errors so that mechanisms to avoid such errors could be devised.

The study was conducted by means of a case study guided by the positivists’paradigm where the research sample comprised of 105 Grade 10 Mathematics Literacy learners as respondents. Having used Polya’s problem-solving techniques, Threshold Concept and Newman’s Error Analysis as the theoretical frameworks for the study, a four-point Likert scale and a content-based structure-interview questionnaire were developed to address the research question. Four sets of structured-interview questionnaires were used for collecting data, aimed at addressing the main objective of the study. In order to test the reliability and consistency of the questionnaires for this study, Cronbach’s Alpha was tested for standardised items (α = 0.705).

Once the data was collected, it was analysed through content and correlation analysis. Based on the frequency table which summarises learner responses, it could be ascertained that the majority (n =63, 60%) of learners admitted to sometimes confusing addition with multiplication. The relationship between learners forgetting to write units and learners writing down an incorrect number/figure revealed a significance where p = .04 (r = +.17) illustrated a weak correlation between the afore-stated variables.


errors; financial mathematics; incorrect association; rigidity of thinking


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