University mathematics teachers' views on the required reasoning in calculus exams

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Bergqvist, Ewa (2012)
  • Publisher: Umeå universitet, Institutionen för naturvetenskapernas och matematikens didaktik
  • Subject: Swedish exams | Didactics | University Calculus courses | reasoning | creative vs. imitative | Calculus | Didaktik
    acm: ComputingMilieux_COMPUTERSANDEDUCATION

Students often use imitative reasoning, i.e. copy algorithms or recall facts, when solving mathematical tasks. Research show that this type of imitative reasoning might weaken the students' understanding of the underlying mathematical concepts. In a previous study, the author classified tasks from 16 final exams from introductory calculus courses at Swedish universities. The results showed that it was possible to pass 15 of the exams, and solve most of the tasks, using imitative reasoning. This study examines the teachers' views on the reasoning that students are expected to perform during their own and others mathematics exams. The results indicate that the exams demand mostly imitative reasoning since the teachers think that the exams otherwise would be too difficult and lead to too low passing rates.
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