Melbourne Graduate School of Education - Theses

Permanent URI for this collection

Search Results

Now showing 1 - 1 of 1
  • Item
    Thumbnail Image
    Student interpretation of graphs at the secondary level
    Barcham, Peter James ( 1994)
    Students at the secondary school level have misconceptions about, and difficulties with, interpreting the graphs used in such mathematics topics as calculus, statistics and variation. This thesis establishes what many of these misconceptions and difficulties are and trials teaching programs for years 8, 9, 10 and 11, that allow students and teachers to confront and deal with them. The teaching programs are designed to require a minimum of student time and teacher preparation. A study of the literature revealed most but not all of the misconceptions and difficulties and enabled the setting up of a list of those to be confronted by the teaching programs. An important student error, not in the literature, was found. The study was extended to include students' understanding of three dimensional graphs, a topic not previously in the literature. The teaching programs were based on sets of pre-drawn graphs with five questions each and were constructed for years 8, 9, 10 and 11. There were approximately 20 graphs for each year level to address these misconceptions and difficulties. Tests were administered to two classes at each year level and were followed by the teaching programs to only one of these classes at each year level. The same test was used immediately afterwards with all the classes as a posttest and then five months later as a delayed posttest. The effect of the teaching program was statistically significant for all year levels on the posttests. The delayed posttests showed that the gains were mostly maintained. The conclusion reached is that most of the misconceptions and difficulties that secondary school students have with interpreting graphs, can be dealt with in a short, focused teaching program at each year level. The teaching programs developed here go a considerable way towards doing this.