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Origins

WHY  IS  TRANSPOSITION  HARD?

There are a number of reasons why rearranging equations is difficult for a learner.  Crucially on the technical side, transposition of formulae is a demanding task as it is a culmination of many algebra skills and concepts coming into play at once and lacking one component of this ‘portfolio’ often results in a failure. On the non-technical side, there are several factors contributing to the problem. Many students like to have a procedure involving a defined set of steps to follow; this is not the case for transposition. Though there are some ‘rules’, they can be applied in multiple ways generating different paths to the correct solution. A question on transposition often involves many steps, students do not like long problems and perceive them as “hard”! There is also the fact that the students have been exposed to the topic before therefore some already know it and are bored in class distracting others whereas some think they know it (when they do not) and are not paying attention. This does not create an optimum learning environment.