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The thinking styles of university mathematics students

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Author(s): Moutsios-Rentzos, Andreas, | Simpson, Adrian

Journal: Acta Didactica Napocensia
ISSN 2065-1430

Volume: 3;
Issue: 4;
Start page: 1;
Date: 2010;
Original page

Keywords: university mathematics | thinking styles | undergraduates | postgraduates | MSC 97C30

ABSTRACT
In this paper, we focus on the relationship between studying university mathematics andthe ‘thinking styles’ of both undergraduate and postgraduate mathematics students. A crosssectionalquantitative study (N = 238) was conducted in a large Greek university, identifying thethinking styles of second, third and fourth year undergraduates, as well as those of studentsfollowing a postgraduate degree in mathematics. The analysis revealed that the more experiencedundergraduates and the postgraduates showed a stronger preference for originality and freedom inthinking, low degrees of structure, high levels of freedom and more complex informationprocessing, combined with non-prioritised thinking. However, the postgraduates combine thesepreferences with a stronger preference for implementing rules and instructions. A discussion onthese findings and on the factors that may account for them is presented.
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