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Mathematics seminar

Mathematics Education Center Seminar

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Dr Anastasia Datsogianni: 'Elementary students’ conditional reasoning skills within mathematical and everyday contexts' (University of Cyprus & University of Nicosia)

A research link between conditional reasoning and mathematics has been reported only for late adolescents and adults, despite claims about the pivotal importance of conditional reasoning, ie reasoning with if–then statements, in mathematics. Secondary students’ problems with deductive reasoning in mathematics have been documented for a long time. However, evidence from developmental psychology shows that even elementary students possess some early conditional reasoning skills in familiar contexts. Hence it is still an open question to what extent conditional reasoning with mathematical concepts differs from conditional reasoning in familiar everyday contexts. In the cross-sectional study that will be presented in this seminar, 102 students in Cyprus from grades 2, 4, and 6 solved four conditional reasoning tasks on each type of content (everyday and mathematical). All four logical forms, Modus Ponens (MP), Modus Tollens (MT), Denial of the Antecedent (DA), and Affirmation of the Consequent (AC), were included in each task. The detailed re-sults of the study as well its further implications will be discussed in this talk.

Dr Hannah Connolly: 'Are math anxiety and being positive about math mutually exclusive? An exploratory study in elite STEM students' (University of York)

Mathematics skills are necessary in everyday life and their deficiency might affect both employment opportunities and socio-emotional well-being (health, wealth, and quality of life). On an individual level, not only cognitive abilities, but also emotional aspects, attitudes, and personality characteristics have an influence on mathematics achievement. Most of the existing studies focused either on individuals revealing math difficulties or targeting heterogeneous samples not prespecifying their mathematics skills level. Thus, relatively little is known about emotions and attitudes towards mathematics in people who excel in mathematics and pursue STEM careers. Students enrolled in elite STEM programs have been neglected in mathematics anxiety research presumably because the general (implicit) assumption is that one must have positive attitudes towards mathematics to choose studying mathematics-heavy subjects. By investigating elite STEM students in one of the most prestigious technical universities worldwide, we examine relatively unexplored aspects of human experiences related to mathematics. More specifically, we investigate whether mathematics anxiety and being positive towards mathematics (experiencing positive emotions, having positive attitudes) need to be mutually exclusive. Thus, our study investigates mathematics anxiety and its relation to other constructs in elite STEM students. 

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Ouhao Chen
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