# Are There Hidden Costs to Teaching Mathematics with Incorrect Examples?

- Min Kyung Hong,
*Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN, United States*
- Darren J. Yeo,
*Vanderbilt University*
- Bethany Rittle-Johnson,
*Vanderbilt University*
- Lisa K. Fazio,
*Vanderbilt University*

## Abstract

This study aims to address potential costs of using incorrect
worked examples in teaching mathematics. While such practice has been shown to be
effective in educational research, previous findings in the memory literature
suggest that exposure to an incorrect solution may lead students to later believe
that it is correct due to increased familiarity. We designed a two-session
experiment with 1-week delay in which students studied correct and incorrect
worked out examples. We found only small changes in students’ ability to
successfully distinguish between correct and incorrect solutions over time.
Students did rate the previously studied incorrect examples as being more correct
after the 1-wk delay, but this did not affect their correctness ratings of new
correct and incorrect worked examples or their problem solving accuracy. We
conclude that the unique nature of mathematical problem solving may protect
students from the dangers of using incorrect worked examples.

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