Title

Between confidence and procedural flexibility in calculus

Publication Date

11-13-2020

Document Type

Article

Department

Mathematics and Statistics

Publication Title

International Journal of Mathematical Education in Science and Technology

DOI

10.1080/0020739X.2020.1840639

Abstract

Greater flexibility with procedures is known to be associated with greater conceptual knowledge of mathematics and vice versa. In parallel, a student’s emotional relationship to mathematics – i.e. their ‘affect’ – is known to influence how they learn and perform in mathematics. For example, a confident student may engage more fully with mathematics, thereby improving their knowledge and skill acquisition and performance. What remains to be understood is the relationship between a student’s affect and their procedural flexibility. The results of this study indicate a positive, albeit moderate, correlation between a student’s confidence and their flexibility with calculus procedures. This reveals a potential avenue to improved mathematical understanding and performance: the symbiosis between confidence and flexible procedural knowledge.

Keywords

Undergraduate mathematics education, calculus, procedural flexibility, confidence, adaptive expertise

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