Colloquium at Math Department at WVU, Spring 2020

Date: Wednesday, February 19, 4:30-5:20pm. Notice time change! Preceded with refreshments, 4:00-4:30pm, in the math faculty lounge.
Location: 315 Armstrong Hall
Speaker: Dr. Ben Davies, postdoctoral fellow, Department of Mathematics, West Virginia University
Title: Proof comprehension and comparative judgment
Abstract: Proof is a famously difficult aspect of mathematics for students at all levels. Yet, despite its importance, relatively little research has focused on generating reliable and valid measures of proof comprehension. In this talk, I will first explore the difficulties in the existing assessment literature, focusing on weaknesses in `traditional approaches' and the issues arising in recent attempts to improve the situation. I will then present two empirical investigations using an innovative assessment protocol, known as comparative judgment, to assess students' summaries of a proof demonstrating the uncountability of the open unit interval. My work adopts a mixed methods perspective to simultaneously explore the merits of comparative judgment in this context and the relationship between students' written summaries and their understanding of proof as captured by more traditional metrics.