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Students' understanding of exponents and exponential functions at a secondary school in the northern Netherlands

Bergsma, Yosha (2019) Students' understanding of exponents and exponential functions at a secondary school in the northern Netherlands. Bachelor's Thesis, Mathematics.

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Abstract

The purpose of this study is to describe and analyze students’ understanding of exponents and exponential functions within different existing frameworks on students’ understanding, and to compare these frameworks. The study was conducted with 17 secondary school students of a school in the northern Netherlands with the use of a survey and semi-structured interviews. The results of this study suggest that students in the first level of understanding can solve tasks with exponents with positive integer base and power, but that they have difficulties with exponents with negative base or power. Students in the second level can solve tasks with a negative integer base and positive integer power, but have difficulties with a rational base and negative rational power. In the third level of understanding, students can work with exponents with rational base and negative rational power. The study suggests that participants in this study performed better than participants in previous studies. Notable cases of student misconceptions were students’ who moved the minus sign of the power to the base or preceding the base, students inability to explain why the rules of exponentiation are true and students who composed growth factors incorrectly when they were given two coordinates.

Item Type: Thesis (Bachelor's Thesis)
Supervisor:
Supervisor nameSupervisor E mail
Mali, A.A.Mali@rug.nl
Verstappen, R.W.C.P.R.W.C.P.Verstappen@rug.nl
Degree programme: Mathematics
Thesis type: Bachelor's Thesis
Language: English
Date Deposited: 11 Jul 2019
Last Modified: 12 Jul 2019 12:06
URI: http://fse.studenttheses.ub.rug.nl/id/eprint/20116

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