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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Error Analysis for Enrichment and Critical Thinking

This year, working with a wide variety of students, many needing either extra help or extra enrichment and extensions, I have been doing a lot of reading about both needs.  One of my absolute FAVORITE ideas for enrichment this year has been error analysis.  I have done it with my 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders on different topics, and they are a big hit.

I began creating Error Analysis sheets for my students are reading about Marzano's New Taxonomy (Systems of Knowledge).  Under Analysis, he lists Error Analysis as an exceptional way to promote thinking and learning.

Basically, I research different errors that are commonly made in whatever concept we are working on, I pull from ones I have seen before, or ones that my kids are currently making.  I make a page with a problem that has an error, and it is the student's job to figure out what the error is.  This is not easy, but oh my, it sure stretches their thinking!

Once they figure out what the problem is, they have to give the "student" who made the mistake some advice on avoiding the problem next time (also challenging for the kids).  Then, they have to rework the problem on their own.  I usually do one or two with the kids first so that they know my expectations, and then they are begging me to pass them out and send them off on their own. 

My students LOVE, LOVE, LOVE them, and I have even seen kids take error analysis sheets out to recess because they are determined to figure out what error took place, or the perfect wording to describe what happened.

I have three of these in my TpT store, and one of them is FREE for you! In addition to my FREE addition with regrouping mini- set, I also have a Multi-Digit Multiplication Error Analysis Pack and a Long Division Error Analysis Pack.  I include answer keys with POSSIBLE answers, and I always include a blank analysis page for you to create your own based on errors students in your class are making.

FREE Addition Error Analysis
You can use these in so many different ways.  For my talented and gifted kids, I have used them as an assessment, for kids in the regular classroom needing enrichment, I go in and do a mini-lesson, then have them do them in centers.  

I have included the addition with regrouping error analysis for free because it's the perfect place to start, no matter the grade.  Try them in your class, and if you do, let me know how it goes!  Right now, we are field testing some for fractions, and decimals are coming next!

Long Division Error Analysis

Multi-Digit Multiplication Error Analysis


  1. I really like this idea and your worksheet. I will be using it. I've done it informally in the past on whiteboards in my guided groups and found that it really promoted mathematical thinking and accountable talk by the students. It teaches the kids to be aware of their own thinking. In reading, we teach Monitoring Comprehension and fix up strategies. In math, students need to be taught this as well.

    Often times as teachers, we say to double check your work without really teaching the kids how to double check. Error analysis is a great way to teach kids how to double check their work for careless errors.

  2. Hi,

    This such a good post. I teach first and struggled with a way to keep my high kids going, and I think this is a great way of doing it. What book by Marzano did you read?I'd like to read up on it some more. Thanks.:-)