In maths teaching and learning, the norm for a classroom-based tutorial is to get correct answers to achieve a high score. This is one way to gauge whether the teaching and learning has been effective. But it is not 100% true always. Why?

The students can copy another person's answer to get a better marks, if desperate. The students may have learned the lesson through rote-learning or memorising. Therefore getting correct answers to any maths questions is not the only way to judge outcomes in maths teaching or learning. The emphasis to the students is to ensure that they master the concepts and the "why" of a particular topics.

Through focusing on the solving steps, understanding of the topics can be revealed. Focusing on the end result may not show true understanding. Another way to access understanding is to do an oral questioning along the way when the students are doing the written work. Human errors may occur along the way during computation of numbers, for example, pressing the wrong button on a calculator, and thus getting a wrong answer. If we focus on the final result, it may do injustice to the learners when the steps and concepts are applied correctly.

Therefore, in short, emphasis on the thinking process rather than the final outcome, although it is still equally important at times.

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## Monday, 11 August 2008

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