Abstract

In the past, frameworks for what it means for students to understand elementary mathematical concepts like addition have been well-researched. These frameworks are useful for identifying what students must understand to have a good grasp of the concept. Few such research-based frameworks exist for secondary mathematical topics. The intent of this study was to create such a framework for what it means for students to understand logarithms, a topic that has been under-researched up to this point. Four task-based interviews were conducted with each of four different preservice secondary mathematics teachers in order to test a preliminary framework I had constructed to describe what it means for students to understand logarithms. The framework was adjusted according to the findings from the interviews to better reflect what it means for students to have a good understanding of logarithms. Also, a common practice taught to students learning logarithms, switching from logarithmic form to exponential form, was found to possibly have negative effects on student understanding of logarithms. The refined, research-based framework for what it means for students to understand logarithms is described in full in this document. The implications of the results of this study for mathematics teachers as well as for mathematics education researchers are also discussed.

Degree

MA

College and Department

Physical and Mathematical Sciences; Mathematics Education

Rights

http://lib.byu.edu/about/copyright/

Date Submitted

2011-12-09

Document Type

Thesis

Handle

http://hdl.lib.byu.edu/1877/etd4895

Keywords

mathematics education, logarithms, understanding, framework, mathematics teaching

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