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Computer-Intensive Algebra and Students' Conceptual Knowledge of Functions

Brian R. O'Callaghan 

January 1998, Volume 29, Issue 1, Page 21

Abstract:
This article describes a research project that examined the effects of the Computer-Intensive Algebra (CIA) and traditional algebra curricula on students' understanding of the function concept. The foundation for the research is a proposed conceptual framework that describes function knowledge in terms of component competencies. The results indicated that the CIA students achieved a better overall understanding of functions and were better at the components of modeling, interpreting, and translating. No significant differences were found for reifying, which emerged as the most difficult component in the proposed function model. Further, the CIA students showed significant improvements in their attitudes toward mathematics, were less anxious about mathematics, and rated their class as more interesting. A higher percentage of students successfully completed the CIA course.