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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Study of the relation between teacher and student understanding of limit concepts taught in grade eight Broadley , George William


The purpose of this study was to investigate if a relationship exists between the understandings of students and those of their teachers for a specific concept in mathematics. A review of literature revealed that no study-had attempted to examine the relation between student and teacher understanding of a specific concept in mathematics although several had investigated the relation between teacher and student understanding of general mathematical concepts, usually in arithmetic. The single concept chosen for the present study was intuitive limit concepts as prescribed for Mathematics 8 students in British Columbia schools. The following null hypothesis was established and tested: For Mathematics 8 classes of better students there is no significant correlation between teacher understanding of intuitive limit concepts and student understanding of intuitive limit concepts. Measures of understanding were obtained by the use of two testing instruments constructed by the investigator, one for students and one for teachers. The preliminary student test constructed was checked for content validity and given a trial use. The reliability of the test was calculated and an item analysis made to determine which items to use in the final form of the test. The teacher test constructed used hypothetical answers to student test items. Teacher test items were taxonomized according to Bloom. Fourteen classes of Mathematics 8 students of better ability and their teachers were tested using the final form of each test. Class means for student tests were adjusted by analysis of covariance to allow for Initial differences in intelligence and mathematics achievement. Calculation of the coefficient of correlation between these adjusted means and teacher scores gave a result of 0.09. This correlation was not significant. Thus the null hypothesis tested was accepted.

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