Quantitative Literacy in the Affective Domain: Computational Geology Students’ Reactions to Devlin’s The Math Instinct
Affective Domain, Math Anxiety, Qualitative Research, Math Education, Geoscience Education, Student Writing
Building on suggestions from alumni from a recent interview project, students in Computational Geology at the University of South Florida were tasked with reading a popular non-fiction book on mathematics and writing about the book and their feelings about math. The book, The Math Instinct by Keith Devlin, was chosen because we believed it would give the students something interesting to write about and not because we had any expectations in particular about what it might reveal about or do for their math anxiety. The nature of the responses received from the students led to the performance of a post-hoc study on the emotional affect of math in the students' lives and how it changed as they proceeded through the book and reflected back on it at the end. Of the 28 students in the fall 2016 section of the course, 25 had an improved or slightly improved attitude toward math by the end of the semester. The assignment was more successful than we could anticipate at generating thought and getting students to communicate about math – an integral component of quantitative literacy. Although the limited size and post hoc nature of the study make it difficult to generalize, the results are promising and invite further use of the assignment in the course.
Ricchezza, Victor J., and H. L. Vacher. "Quantitative Literacy in the Affective Domain: Computational Geology Students’ Reactions to Devlin’s The Math Instinct." Numeracy 10, Iss. 2 (2017): Article 11. DOI: http://doi.org/10.5038/1936-46126.96.36.199
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