Note: I'm framing this question in terms of tutoring math since that's what I tutor most, though it applies to a wide range of subject matters.
I do a decent amount of tutoring, and this is one phenomenon I see popping up constantly, and I occasionally catch myself doing the same thing, though less often since I've become aware of it
What happens is a student learns a new concept/formula/algorithm in class and then does practice or assignment questions. They will then come up to me and ask me to check their work because the answer they are getting doesn't make sense, or doesn't line up with a known answer. Sometimes, they will even have spent hours double or triple checking their work on this new formula.
I will look over their work and confirm its correctness. I have learned to ask "Can I see the work you did to get to this point?" They then show me this work, and most of the time, there is a simple arithmetic error or oversight (and if its a misunderstanding of previous material, then its a whole other issue).
What has happened is that the assignment question involves multiple steps, the student makes a simple error in an early step, and assumes the error to be in the later steps involving the newly taught equations, and wastes hours looking for an error there.
My related questions are:
- Does this phenomenon have a name, and if so what is it?
- What are the psychological processes behind this, i.e. why does the student not double check all of the work?
- Is there any way to mitigate this behaviour besides simply being aware of it?