ERIC Number: EJ1119756
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016
Abstractor: As Provided
Developing Flexible Procedural Knowledge in Undergraduate Calculus
Maciejewski, Wes; Star, Jon R.
Research in Mathematics Education, v18 n3 p299-316 2016
Mathematics experts often choose appropriate procedures to produce an efficient or elegant solution to a mathematical task. This "flexible procedural knowledge" distinguishes novice and expert procedural performances. This article reports on an intervention intended to aid the development of undergraduate calculus students' flexible use of procedures. Two sections of the same course were randomly assigned to treatment and control conditions. Treatment students completed an assignment on which they resolved derivative-finding problems with alternative methods and compared the two resulting solutions. Control students were assigned a list of functions to differentiate. On the post-intervention test, treatment students were more likely to use a variety of solution methods without prompting than the control. Moreover, the set of treatment section solutions were closer to those of a group of mathematics experts. This study presents evidence that not only is flexible procedural knowledge a key skill in tertiary mathematics, it can be taught.
Descriptors: Calculus, Undergraduate Students, Mathematics Education, Mathematics Instruction, Mathematics, Intervention, Experimental Groups, Control Groups, Comparative Analysis, Mathematical Concepts, College Freshmen, Pretests Posttests, College Mathematics, Expertise, Foreign Countries
Routledge. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; Web site: http://www.tandf.co.uk/journals
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Canada
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A