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ERIC Number: EJ1137468
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017
Pages: 22
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1479-4802
Support with Caveats: Advocates' Views of the Theory of Formal Discipline as a Reason for the Study of Advanced Mathematics
Wainwright, Elaine; Attridge, Nina; Wainwright, David; Alcock, Lara; Inglis, Matthew
Research in Mathematics Education, v19 n1 p20-41 2017
The Theory of Formal Discipline (TFD) suggests that studying mathematics improves general thinking skills. Empirical evidence for the TFD is sparse, yet it is cited in policy reports as a justification for the importance of mathematics in school curricula. The study reported in this article investigated the extent to which influential UK advocates for mathematics agree with the TFD and their views on the arguments and evidence that surround it. Quantitative and qualitative analysis of data from structured interviews revealed four themes: broad endorsement of the TFD; reference to supportive employment data; the possibilities that mathematics education might not always effectively develop reasoning and that study of other subjects might have similar effects; and concerns about causality and the extent of the evidence base. We conclude that advocates broadly support the TFD despite being aware of its limitations.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: Raven Advanced Progressive Matrices
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A