Mathematics researchers land 300K NFS grant to study proof-based courses

Texas State University

A team of researchers from the Department of Mathematics at Texas State University has received a National Science Foundation grant to study the instructor and student activity involved in promoting productive discussions in proof-based courses.

The three year project titled, “Orchestrating Discussion Around Proof (ODAP),” was funded for approximately $300,000. The Texas State team consists of Kate Melhuish, principal investigator, Robert Sigley, co-PI, and Kristen Lew, co-PI.

The ODAP project consists of a two-phase study focused on adapting research-based K-12 practices for orchestrating discussion to the new context of an undergraduate proof-based course. The project team will hypothesize, pilot and refine a model for promoting productive discussion in this context through a series of task-based interviews (Phase 1) and classroom implementations (Phase 2).

The analysis will focus on the strategies that promote student engagement in three key activities connected to proof: comprehending, validating and constructing. Findings will contribute to the field by testing the transferability of K-12 supports to the undergraduate setting. The project will also offer analyses of student-instructor interactions in proof-based course settings. This will complement current literature, which primarily relies on studies conducted in clinical settings. 

            About Texas State University

Founded in 1899, Texas State University is among the largest universities in Texas with an enrollment of 38,694 students on campuses in San Marcos and Round Rock. Texas State’s 189,000-plus alumni are a powerful force in serving the economic workforce needs of Texas and throughout the world. Designated an Emerging Research University by the State of Texas, Texas State is classified under “Doctoral Universities: Higher Research Activity,” the second-highest designation for research institutions under the Carnegie classification system.