How Do Higher-Education Students Use Their Initial Understanding to Deal with Contextual Logic-Based Problems in Discrete Mathematics?

  •  Asrin Lubis    
  •  Andrea Nasution    


Mathematical reasoning in logical context has now received much attention in the mathematics curriculum documents of many countries, including Indonesia. In Indonesia, students start formally learning about logic when they pursue to senior-high school. Before, they previously have many experiences to deal with logic, but the earlier assignments do not label them as logic. Although the students have already experienced much about logic, it does not assure that they have a better understand about it even they purpose to university. Thus, this paper presents several findings of our small-scale study which was conducted to investigate the issues on how higher-education students overcome contextual logic-based problems. Data were collected through pretest, students’ written work, video recording and interview. A fifteen-minute test which consisted of four questions was given to 53 student participants in the third semester who proposed mathematics discrete course. The information towards the main issues was required through the analysis of students’ written work in the pretest and video recording during the students’ interview. The findings indicate that the students’ initial understanding, in general, do not help them much to solve logical problems based on context. In our findings, they apply several strategies, such as random proportions, word descriptions, permutation-combination calculations and deriving conclusion through logical premises.

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