Two-year community college students' understanding of rational expressions

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Montana State University - Bozeman, College of Letters & Science


This research study investigated the gaps in knowledge held by two-year community college students in simplifying and operating with rational expressions and how these gaps affect their learning. The study employed multiple methods, including completion of a Diagnostic Problem Set, participating in collaborative and exploratory activities, and attending task-based interviews, to elicit and assess students' understanding of rational expressions. The study analyzed and categorized participants' responses based on the participants' different perspectives and learning processes. The research also explored how collaborative and exploratory learning, as well as the use of Knowledge-Eliciting Tasks, can help identify and address students' misconceptions. Qualitative analysis of the findings identified potential causes of the learning gaps and generated recommendations for instructional strategies that can bridge these gaps and improve students' understanding of rational expressions, which is crucial to student success in algebraic subjects and college academic achievement.




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