Date: Oct 15, 2012 6:53 PM
Author: Louis Talman
Subject: Re: Inquiry Based Learning at the University of Michigan Math Dept.

On Mon, Oct 15, 2012 at 3:00 PM, Robert Hansen <> wrote:

> On Oct 15, 2012, at 1:04 PM, Louis Talman <> wrote:
> 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, anyway.)
> Agreed.
> The aim of the test seems to be to test whether students can differentiate
> good arguments from bad arguments.
> The aim? The target is fine (as you wrote above), the aim is very poor. A
> survey format?
> I would have asked...
> 1. Is this proof correct?
> 2. If not, why?--

As usual, you asked something other than what you meant. You asked if the
test "is mathematics". It most certainly is.

Whether it's a good test of mathematics is quite another question, and one
you didn't ask.

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