Mathematical and Statistical Reasoning in Compelling Contexts:

Quantitative Approaches for building and Interrogating Personal, Disciplinary, Interdisciplinary and Worldviews

David L. Ferguson - Stony Brook University (About the author)
Publication Date


This paper calls for increased emphasis on a vision of mathematical and statistical reasoning that situates these subjects in compelling contexts (compelling from the students' viewpoints) and thereby allows for the development of core mathematical concepts that can be interconnected to a variety of interests and purposes. That vision suggests a modest core of mathematical concepts and methods, developed through a constructivist approach. Students will build on that core to both extend their understanding to new mathematical ideas/approaches and enhance their understanding of complex (dirty) domains in which mathematics contributes to their evolving knowledge. This approach recognizes that, both within the core and beyond the core, students' knowledge will evolve in different ways. Such student-initiated learning paths will demand creative and flexible assessment methods that not only gauge progress on benchmarks but reveal insights about learners' unique experiences on personally meaningful projects.

From the paper's conclusion.

Topics of Interest to the SENCER Community

Quantitative Reasoning

  • Key elements of a reformed environment for engaging students in mathematical and statistical reasoning.
  • A discussion of role of motivation in learning mathematics and statistics
  • A provocative discussion of the role of rigor in quantitative reasoning

Modeling and Decision Making

  • A discussion of the design of SENCER Model Course in view of learning research and goals for broad mathematical competency in the population.

Full Report

Mathematical and Statistical Reasoning in Compelling Contexts (Acrobat (PDF) 319kB Feb22 08)

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