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Algebra Related Misconceptions in First Year Engineering Students
High school students join engineering programs with a certain level of math and science knowledge gained through instruction and experience. This prior knowledge, correct or incorrect, shapes their acquisition of new information and learning. Misconceptions are defined as erroneous ideas, generally based on prior knowledge. Misconceptions could arise from previous inadequate teaching and problems recalling concepts learned in class. The participants of this study were one hundred first year non-calculus ready students enrolled in a college Algebra course. The students were also enrolled in an engineering reasoning course during the time of the study. As part of the engineering reasoning course, the students completed a series of worksheets aimed at assessing their math reasoning skills and their ability to apply math knowledge in engineering problem solving. These worksheets were analyzed and misconceptions were identified. This presentation summarizes the identified misconceptions and provides ideas on how to address them in the context of engineering problem solving.