#### Conceptions of function composition in college precalculus students

Past research has shown that students have difficulty developing a robust conception of function. However, little prior research has been performed dealing with student knowledge of function composition, a potentially powerful mathematical concept. This dissertation reports the results of an…

Past research has shown that students have difficulty developing a robust conception of function. However, little prior research has been performed dealing with student knowledge of function composition, a potentially powerful mathematical concept. This dissertation reports the results of an investigation into student understanding and use of function composition, set against the backdrop of a precalculus class that emphasized quantification and covariational reasoning. The data were collected using task-based, semi-structured clinical interviews with individual students outside the classroom. Findings from this study revealed that factors such as the student's quantitative reasoning, covariational reasoning, problem solving behaviors, and view of function influence how a student understands and uses function composition. The results of the study characterize some of the subtle ways in which these factors impact students' ability to understand and use function composition to solve problems. Findings also revealed that other factors such as a students' persistence, disposition towards "meaning making" for the purpose of conceptualizing quantitative relationships, familiarity with the context of a problem, procedural fluency, and student knowledge of rules of "order of operations" impact a students' progress in advancing her/his solution approach.

**Contributors**

- Bowling, Stacey (Author)
- Carlson, Marilyn P (Thesis advisor)
- Thompson, Patrick W (Committee member)
- Moore, Kevin C (Committee member)
- Milner, Fabio (Committee member)
- Van de Sande, Carla (Committee member)
- Arizona State University (Publisher)

**Created**