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The development of reasoning skills during compulsory 16 to 18 mathematics education

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journal contribution
posted on 15.12.2015, 11:52 by Nina Attridge, Maria Doritou, Matthew Inglis
The belief that studying mathematics improves reasoning skills, known as the Theory of Formal Discipline (TFD), has been held since the time of Plato. Research evidence supports this idea, at least in the context of students who had chosen to study post-compulsory mathematics. Here we examined the development of reasoning skills in 16- to 18-year-old Cypriot students, who are required to study mathematics until age 18. One hundred and eighty-eight students, studying high- or low-intensity mathematics, completed the abstract Conditional Inference Task and the contextual Belief Bias Syllogisms task at ages 16, 17 and 18. While the high-intensity group improved on the conditional inference task and showed a reduction in belief bias, the low-intensity group did not change on either measure. This is promising for the TFD, but suggests that a certain level of mathematical study may be necessary for students' general reasoning skills to develop.
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Funding

This research was partially supported by a Royal Society Worshipful Company of Actuaries Research Fellowship to MI.

History

School

  • Science

Department

  • Mathematics Education Centre

Published in

Research in Mathematics Education

Volume

17

Issue

1

Pages

20 - 37

Citation

ATTRIDGE, N., DORITOU, M. and INGLIS, M., 2015. The development of reasoning skills during compulsory 16 to 18 mathematics education. Research in Mathematics Education, 17 (1), pp.20-37

Publisher

Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group / (© 2015 British Society for Research into Learning Mathematics)

Version

AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Publisher statement

This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

Publication date

2015

Notes

This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Research in Mathematics Education on 12 Feb 2015, available online: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14794802.2014.999014.

ISSN

1479-4802

eISSN

1754-0178

Language

en

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