A multidimensional approach to explore the understanding of the notion of absolute value
SourceInternational Journal of Mathematical Education in Science and Technology
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The study aimed to investigative students’ conceptions on the notion of absolute value and their abilities in applying the specific notion in routine and non-routine situations. A questionnaire was constructed and administered to 17-year-old students. Data were analysed using the hierarchical clustering of variables and the implicative method, while the qualitative approach was used to identify and analyse students’ errors. The results revealed students’ strong tendency to use algorithmic processes even in situations in which this kind of reasoning was not suited. This tendency and students’ errors in the tasks were assumed to occur primarily due to obstacles of didactic origin concerning the didactic contract and subsequently due to epistemological obstacles grounded in the history of mathematics.