Selden & Selden (2011) listed 41 difficulties their students had in an experimental proving course into 9 categories. Unfortunately I haven't found similar work. Thus, my question is:

Is there a (more detailed) catalog of the misconceptions, typical errors or problems undergraduates have / make while proving?


  • $\begingroup$ 41 difficulties in 9 categories isn't detailed enough? The link has some references. Perhaps you could start there for a pathway to related literature. $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 25, 2016 at 14:27
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    $\begingroup$ Maybe the book mentioend in this answer is of interest matheducators.stackexchange.com/a/11332 I do not know the book at all. I just recalled that answer, and though, maybe it's relevant. $\endgroup$
    – quid
    Commented Aug 25, 2016 at 17:02
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    $\begingroup$ Across the entire undergraduate curriculum? Or for a particular topic? In the latter case, you might check something like: Ko, Yi-Yin, and Eric Knuth. "Undergraduate mathematics majors’ writing performance producing proofs and counterexamples about continuous functions." The Journal of Mathematical Behavior 28.1 (2009): 68-77. Link (no pay wall). $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 26, 2016 at 1:46
  • $\begingroup$ @BenjaminDickman: Your linked article really helped me! (It's okay that it focus on a particular topic). Can you add an answer with your reference? So I can upvote it... $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 26, 2016 at 15:27
  • $\begingroup$ @StephanKulla Any list of "misconceptions, typical errors or problems" would seem to call for a cookbook. On the other hand, watching someone struggling with a mathematical text which they are "spoozed to get" goes a long way towards our understanding of the difficulties students have in understanding us. And that says a lot about us and the stuff we say and write. $\endgroup$
    – schremmer
    Commented Jul 1, 2017 at 15:34


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