A study on pre-service mathematics teachers’ criteria of proof evaluation
Keywords:Proof, Proof evaluation, Justification, Mathematical language
Proof is foundational to mathematics, and constructing proofs and establishing their validity are both important mathematical studies. Determining the validity of a proof is a part of the process of proof evaluation. Proof evaluation contributes to students’ ability to construct and revise their own proofs. The purpose of this study was to determine the criteria pre-service mathematics teachers take into account in evaluating a proof. The study was carried out with 50 first-year university students enrolled in an elementary mathematics teacher education program. The data were collected through activities relating to proving. The results of this study revealed that, when evaluating a proof, the participants regarded use of appropriate definitions, axioms, or theorems in the steps of the proof as the most important criterion with reference to justification, while in terms of mathematical language; they regarded appropriate use of symbolic language as the most important criterion. However, they tended to ignore situations where non-symbolic language was used. To address this issue, it is recommended that mathematics-learning environments include the use of non-symbolic language, as well as symbolic representations, in the definition of mathematical concepts.
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