Backward Transfer Influences from Quadratic Functions Instruction on Students’ Prior Ways of Covariational Reasoning about Linear Functions

The study reported in this article examined the ways in which new mathematics learning influences students’ prior ways of reasoning. We conceptualize this kind of influence as a form of transfer of learning called backward transfer. The focus of our study was on students’ covariational reasoning about linear functions before and after they participated in a multi-lesson instructional unit on quadratic functions. The subjects were 57 students from two authentic algebra classrooms at two local high schools. Qualitative analysis suggested that quadratic functions instruction did influence students’ covariational reasoning in terms of the number of quantities and the level of covariational reasoning they reasoned with. These results further the field’s understanding of backward transfer and could inform how to better support students’ abilities to engage in covariational reasoning.

Hohensee, C., Gartland, S., Willoughby, L., & Melville, M. (2021). Backward transfer influences from quadratic functions instruction on students’ prior ways of covariational reasoning about linear functions. Journal of Mathematical Behavior, 61.