Stump (1999)

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Secondary Mathematics Teachers' Knowledge of Slope

The article Secondary Mathematics Teachers' Knowledge of Slope was written by Sheryl Stump and published in Mathematics Education Research Journal in 1999. The article is available from SpringerLink at


This study, conducted in the United States, investigated secondary mathematics teachers' concept definitions, mathematical understanding, and pedagogical content knowledge of slope. Surveys were collected from 18 preservice and 21 inservice teachers; 8 teachers from each group were also interviewed. Geometric ratios dominated teachers' concept definitions of slope. Problems involving the recognition of parameters, the interpretation of graphs, and rate of change challenged teachers' thinking. Teachers' descriptions of classroom instruction included physical situations more often than functional situations. Results suggest that mathematics teacher education programs need to specifically address slope as a fundamental concept, emphasising its connection to the concept of function.

Outline of Headings

  • Secondary Mathematics Teachers' Knowledge of Slope
    • Conceptual Analysis of Slope
    • Students' and Teachers' Knowledge of Slope
  • Theoretical Perspective
    • Concept Definitions
    • Mathematical Understanding
    • Pedagogical Content Knowledge
  • Method
    • Participants and Data Collection
    • Instruments
    • Data Analysis
  • Results of the Mathematics Survey
    • Teachers' Definitions of Slope: Categories of Representations
    • Mathematical Understanding of Slope
    • Pedagogical Content Knowledge
      • Prerequisites for students' understanding
      • Real-world situations involving slope
  • Results of the Interviews
    • Teachers Solving Various Slope Problems
      • Slope as a functional relationship and a parameter
      • Slope as a rate of increase
      • The trigonometric representation of slope
    • Teachers Discussing Mathematical Instruction
  • Discussion



Stump, S. L. (1999). Secondary mathematics teachers’ knowledge of slope. Mathematics Education Research Journal, 11(2), 124–144. doi:10.1007/BF03217065


author = {Stump, Sheryl L.},
doi = {10.1007/BF03217065},
journal = {Mathematics Education Research Journal},
number = {2},
pages = {124--144},
title = {{Secondary mathematics teachers' knowledge of slope}},
url = {},
volume = {11},
year = {1999}