This study explores mathematicians’ views on 1) knowledge and skills students need in order to succeed in subsequent mathematics courses, 2) content courses as transition-to-proof courses, and 3) differences in the proving process across mathematical content areas. Seven mathematicians from three different universities (varying in geographic location and department size), were interviewed. Precision, sense-making, flexibility, definition use, reading and validating proofs, and proof techniques are skills that the mathematicians stated were necessary to be successful in advanced mathematics courses. The participants agreed unanimously that a content course could be used as a transition-to-proof course under certain conditions. They also noted differences in the proving processes between abstract algebra and real analysis. Results from this study will be used to frame a larger study investigating students’ proof processes in their subsequent mathematics content courses and investigating how these skills can be incorporated into a transition-to-proof course.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/robert_moore/5/