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Topic: Inquiry Based Learning at the University of Michigan Math Dept.
Replies: 8   Last Post: Oct 18, 2012 9:06 AM

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Louis Talman

Posts: 5,100
Registered: 12/27/05
Re: Inquiry Based Learning at the University of Michigan Math Dept.
Posted: Oct 15, 2012 1:04 PM
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att1.html (2.1 K)

On Sun, Oct 14, 2012 at 4:20 PM, Robert Hansen <> wrote:

> Check out the "Proof Test" two thirds through this document...
> Page E5.1-1
> Essentially, does this look like math? Good, you pass.

I'm not a bit clear about what you're objecting to. The test, according to
the document it's embedded in, was administered to students in training to
become mathematics teachers---though I didn't read it carefully enough to
figure out at what level.. I certainly want those who teach mathematics to
be able to answer these questions appropriately, though the questions about
"rigor" may be poorly formed.

The aim of the test seems to be to test whether students can differentiate
good arguments from bad arguments. The ability to do so is important,
because proof is central to mathematics. Those who can't distinguish
between good argument and bad argument certainly ought not to be teaching
mathematics. Even those who *can* do so but don't understand that proof is
central to mathematics (and this includes many who mistakenly think that
they want to major in mathematics) ought not to teach mathematics. (And
the reason, I suspect, that the latter category includes so many who
discover too late that they don't really want to study mathematics, is that
too many of them make it through to become mathematics teachers. Allegedly,

--Louis A. Talman
Department of Mathematical and Computer Sciences
Metropolitan State College of Denver


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