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An assessment model for proof comprehension in undergraduate mathematics.
"... Although proof comprehension is fundamental in advanced undergraduate mathematics courses, there has been limited research on what it means to understand a mathematical proof at this level and how such understanding can be assessed. In this paper, we address these issues by presenting a multidimens ..."
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Although proof comprehension is fundamental in advanced undergraduate mathematics courses, there has been limited research on what it means to understand a mathematical proof at this level and how such understanding can be assessed. In this paper, we address these issues by presenting a multidimensional model for assessing proof comprehension in undergraduate mathematics. Building on Yang and Lin’s (2008) model of reading comprehension of proofs in school geometry, we contend that in undergraduate mathematics a proof is not only understood in terms of the meaning, logical status, and logical chaining of its statements, but also in terms of the proof’s highlevel ideas, its main components or modules, the methods it employs, and how it relates to specific examples. We illustrate how each of these types of understanding can be assessed in the context of a proof in number theory.
Contributions to a science of contemporary mathematics, preprint; current draft at http:// www.math.vt.edu/people/quinn
"... Abstract. This essay provides a description of modern mathematical practice, with emphasis on differences between this and practices in the nineteenth century, and in other sciences. Roughly, modern practice is well adapted to the structure of the subject and, within this constraint, much better ad ..."
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Abstract. This essay provides a description of modern mathematical practice, with emphasis on differences between this and practices in the nineteenth century, and in other sciences. Roughly, modern practice is well adapted to the structure of the subject and, within this constraint, much better adapted to the strengths and weaknesses of human cognition. These adaptations greatly increased the effectiveness of mathematical methods and enabled sweeping developments in the twentieth century. The subject is approached in a bottomup ‘scientific ’ way, finding patterns in concrete microlevel observations and being eventually lead by these to understanding at macro levels. The complex and intenselydisciplined technical details of modern practice are fully represented. Finding accurate commonalities that transcend technical detail is certainly a challenge, but any account that shies away from this cannot be complete. As in all sciences, the final result is complex, highly nuanced, and has many surprises. A particular objective is to provide a resource for mathematics education. Elementary education remains modeled on the mathematics of the nineteenth century and before, and outcomes have not changed much either. Modern methodologies might lead to educational gains similar to those seen in professional practice. This draft is about 90 % complete, and comments are welcome. 1.
mathematics professor is trying to convey
"... Abstract. We describe a case study in which we investigate the effectiveness of a lecture in advanced mathematics. We first video recorded a lecture delivered by an experienced professor who had a reputation for being an outstanding instructor. Using video recall, we then interviewed the professor t ..."
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Abstract. We describe a case study in which we investigate the effectiveness of a lecture in advanced mathematics. We first video recorded a lecture delivered by an experienced professor who had a reputation for being an outstanding instructor. Using video recall, we then interviewed the professor to determine the ideas that he intended to convey and how he tried to convey these ideas in this lecture. We also interviewed six students to see what they understood from this lecture. The students did not comprehend the ideas that the professor thought were central to his lecture. Based on our analyses, we propose two factors to account for why students failed to understand these ideas.
Mathematicians and conviction
"... Abstract. The received view of mathematical practice is that mathematicians gain certainty in mathematical assertions by deductive evidence rather than empirical or authoritarian evidence. This assumption has influenced mathematics instruction where students are expected to justify assertions with d ..."
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Abstract. The received view of mathematical practice is that mathematicians gain certainty in mathematical assertions by deductive evidence rather than empirical or authoritarian evidence. This assumption has influenced mathematics instruction where students are expected to justify assertions with deductive arguments rather than by checking the assertion with specific examples or appealing to authorities. In this paper, we argue that the received view about mathematical practice is too simplistic; some mathematicians sometimes gain high levels of conviction with empirical or authoritarian evidence and sometimes do not gain full conviction from the proofs that they read. We discuss what implications this might have, both for for mathematics instruction and theories of epistemic cognition
Why and how mathematicians read proofs 1
"... Why and how mathematicians read proofs: An exploratory study ..."
Knowledge
, 2011
"... Abstract In this paper, we present an analytic framework for investigating expert mathematical learning as the process of building a network of mathematical resources by establishing relationships between different components and properties of mathematical ideas. We then use this framework to analyz ..."
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Abstract In this paper, we present an analytic framework for investigating expert mathematical learning as the process of building a network of mathematical resources by establishing relationships between different components and properties of mathematical ideas. We then use this framework to analyze the reasoning of ten mathematicians and mathematics graduate students that were asked to read and make sense of an unfamiliar, but accessible, mathematical proof in the domain of geometric topology. We find that experts are more likely to refer to definitions when questioning or explaining some aspect of the focal mathematical idea and more likely to refer to specific examples or instantiations when making sense of an unknown aspect of that idea. However, in general, they employ a variety of types of mathematical resources simultaneously. Often, these combinations are used to deconstruct the mathematical idea in order to isolate, identify, and explore its subcomponents. Some common patterns in the ways experts combined these resources are presented, and we consider implications for education.
THE NATURE OF CONTEMPORARY CORE MATHEMATICS
, 2010
"... Abstract. The goal of this essay is a description of modern mathematical practice, with emphasis on differences between this and practices in the nineteenth century. I explain how and why these differences greatly increased the effectiveness of mathematical methods and enabled sweeping developments ..."
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Abstract. The goal of this essay is a description of modern mathematical practice, with emphasis on differences between this and practices in the nineteenth century. I explain how and why these differences greatly increased the effectiveness of mathematical methods and enabled sweeping developments in the twentieth century. A particular concern is the significance for mathematics education: elementary education remains modeled on the mathematics of the nineteenth century and before, and use of modern methodologies might give advantages similar to those seen in mathematics. This draft is about 90 % complete, and comments are welcome. 1.