Educational Studies in Mathematics

, Volume 51, Issue 1–2, pp 117–144 | Cite as

What do adults remember from their high school mathematics? The case of linear functions

  • Ronnie Karsenty


A qualitative study was designedto investigate adults' long-term memory ofmathematics learned in high school.Twenty-four men and women, aged 30 to 45,were requested to recall mathematicalconcepts and procedures during individualinterviews. This article reports findingsregarding the subjects' attempts to drawgraphs of simple linear functions. Ingeneral, these findings support the ideathat retaining high school mathematicalcontent strongly depends on the number,level, and total length of mathematicscourses taken by the student. Diverseresponses to the task of drawing a graph ofa linear function such as y=2x, weredocumented and categorized. In many ofthese responses, the basic mathematicalcommunal notion of linear graphing wasreplaced with personal on-the-spotconstructing of ideas. Detailed analysis ofthree cases is presented, based on recalltheories that explain the mechanism ofrecalling in terms of reconstruction vs.reproduction.


Linear Graph High School Mathematics Simple Linear Function Level Track Israeli Central Bureau 
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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ronnie Karsenty
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Science Education, Weizmann Institute of ScienceWeizmann Institute of ScienceRehovotIsrael

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