Opportunities to Learn Reasoning and Proof in High School Mathematics Textbooks

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  • 1 University of South Florida
  • 2 Michigan State University
  • 3 University of North Texas at Dallas

This article addresses the nature and extent of reasoning and proof in the written (i.e., intended) curriculum of 20 contemporary high school mathematics textbooks. Both the narrative and exercise sets in lessons dealing with the topics of exponents, logarithms, and polynomials were examined. The extent of proof-related reasoning varied by topic and textbook. Overall, about 50% of the identified properties in the 3 topic areas were justified, with about 30% of the addressed properties justified with a general argument and about 20% justified with an argument about a specific case. However, less than 6% of the exercises in the homework sets involved proof-related reasoning, with developing an argument and investigating a conjecture as the most frequently occurring types of proof-related reasoning.

Contributor Notes

Denisse R. Thompson, Department of Secondary Education, University of South Florida, 4202 E. Fowler Ave., College of Education, EDU105, Tampa, FL 33620; denisse@usf.edu

Sharon L. Senk, Department of Mathematics and Program in Mathematics Education, Michigan State University, Wells Hall, East Lansing, MI 48824; senk@math.msu.edu

Gwendolyn J. Johnson, Division of Teacher Education and Administration, University of North Texas at Dallas, 7400 University Hills Blvd., Dallas, TX 75241; Gwendolyn.johnson@unt.edu

(Corresponding author is Thompson denisse@usf.edu)(Corresponding author is Senk senk@math.msu.edu)(Corresponding author is Johnson Gwendolyn.johnson@unt.edu)
Journal for Research in Mathematics Education


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