Student Understanding of the Cartesian Connection: An Exploratory Study
Eric J. Knuth
July 2000, Volume 31, Issue 4, Page 500
The topic of
multiple representations of functions is important in secondary school
mathematics curricula, yet many students leave high school lacking an
understanding of the connections among these representations. Research
results are presented from a study in which students' understandings of the
connections between algebraic and graphical representations of functions were
examined. Responses from 178 students, enrolled in 1st-year algebra through
calculus, revealed an overwhelming reliance on algebraic representations,
even on tasks for which a graphical representation seemed more appropriate.
The findings indicate that for familiar routine problems many students have
mastered the connections between the algebraic and graphical representations;
however, such mastery appeared to be superficial at best.