Improving understanding of logarithms by using the approach of repeated division
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Empirical evidence from research (Chua & Wood, 2005) and my own experience as a teacher point to the difficulties in teaching logarithms in schools. Students find logarithm related questions difficult. They see ‘log’ as a common factor in expression log𝑥+log𝑦 and write it as log(𝑥+𝑦). Students have difficulty in recognizing logarithm as a number (Berezovski & Zazkis, 2006). This research aims to develop an approach that enhances students’ performance, conceptual understanding and retention of logarithms. It is hoped that the approach could be used to reduce the problems faced by the students. In this research, I used a mixed method approach and developed teaching and learning materials to replace the entire topic (logarithms) in the students’ text book. Pre-test, post-test and audio recordings of interviews with students and a teacher were used to collect data. The same test items were applied in administering both pre and post-test. The participating students were in Form1 and Form 2 (grade 10 and 11, age 15-17). The Form 2 students had been taught the topic before while the Form 1 students had no pre-knowledge. The data collected during the study were used to compare the performance of the students in Forms 1 & 2. The study investigates the following questions: (a) Does the Repeated Division approach of learning logarithm improve the performance of students? (b) Does the Repeated Division approach of learning logarithm improve the conceptual understanding of students in logarithm? (c) Does the Repeated Division approach sustain the interest of students in learning logarithms? The sample size of the consented participants who completed pre & post – test were: (Form 1, n = 103 and Form 2, n = 39). The retention test experienced dwindling of the sample size (from n = 103, to n = 81), thus 22 Form 1 students who took part in pre & post – test were absent. The quantitative analysis done could not give clear evidence to support hypothesis set for students’ performance in the study. But, it was revealing in the qualitative analysis results that: the conceptual understanding and interest of the students were enhanced through the use of Repeated Division approach. The recommendations for future research and popularizing the approach are suggested.
Masteroppgave matematikkdidaktikk – Universitetet i Agder 2016