Date of Award
Level of Access Assigned by Author
Master of Science (MS)
Second Committee Member
Third Committee Member
The purpose of this research was to understand the thought processes of students as they solve or attempt to solve questions about derivatives. I report on the common and uncommon inaccurate ideas students displayed as they completed conceptually based tasks about graphs of functions and their derivatives. Findings indicate that first semester calculus students have three main difficulties when attempting to sketch the first and second derivatives of a given graphical function. First, students have the tendency to sketch derivatives that represent opposite behavior of the original function. Second, proceeding left to right, many first derivative sketches begin correctly, but somewhere along the sketching process students become confused and the sketch ends up being incorrect. Lastly, many students express confusion about the second derivative and always sketch a linear function for the second derivative. Prior research in this area is reviewed and discussed, as well as the ramifications of this study and other research that would be beneficial in understanding students' qualitative comprehension of derivatives of graphical functions.
Stahley, John R., "Students' Qualitative Understanding of the Relationship between the Graph of a Function and the Graphs of Its Derivatives" (2011). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 1609.