# Newmans Error Analysis in Math Word Problems instead of CUBES

## CUBES vs NEWMANS ERROR ANALYSIS

I firmly believe that CUBES is VERY beneficial to students. I have implemented it before in my classroom. I discuss it here, and have YouTube videos showing the strategy. However, that was before I learned about Newmans Error Analysis.

## WHEN to USE CUBES

I teach High School Math: Algebra and Algebra II, and Geometry. My students are typically 15-18 years old. CUBES is a simplistic, straight-forward Word Problem strategy.

Students end up with a cursory, basic understanding of Word Problems only when they use clear Math Action Words. However, this doesn’t work for Unit Conversion, and most not for High-School Level Mathematics. So then students are left baffled and confused as to how to proceed.

## NEWMANS ERROR ANALYSIS

So what exactly IS Newmans Error Analysis? And why EXACTLY is it better than CUBES?

*“… a large percentage of children fail mathematics because they can’t read nor understand the wording of the tasks they are given to solve by mathematics teachers.”*

*Dr. Anne Newman*

Newman (1977, 1983) defined five skills as crucial to successfully completing mathematical word problems:

1. Reading/Decoding “Read the word problem thoroughly.”

2. Comprehension “What question are you trying to answer?”

3. Transformation “Which math strategies are you going to use?”

4. Processing Skills “Make an attempt to solve the problem, and show your work.”

5. Encoding “Write down your answer clearly with units/labels.”

## HIGHER ORDER THINKING

The use of NEA has recently surged in New South Wales. An analysis of its use by New South Wales Department of Education and Training was written by Allan Leslie White. Data was collected in 2008 of 74 schools: 55 were primary and 16 were secondary schools. The information gathered WAS NOT comprehensive. However, the results definitely supported the use of NEA.

As you can see, a third of the students gained a level. It’s difficult to give an exact comparison between Standardized Testing in New Zealand and the United States, but over 50% improved by at least a level. Six percent showed a decrease in test results, but that could be attributed to more difficult math concepts or teachers needing additional experience with the new strategy.

Have you ever heard of Newman’s Error Analysis for solving Word Problems? If so, please leave a comment on your experience with this strategy. If you’d like to try it out, please email me (mrs@mrandmrsmath.com) for a FREE printable.

*Mrs Math*