The Mathematics Enthusiast






Professional noticing of mathematical thinking, as defined by Jacobs, Lamb, and Philipp (2010) can be broken down into three components: attending to relevant cues, interpreting the mathematical understanding, and deciding the next best instructional steps. Most research on this topic has been conducted with elementary children. However, there is a gap in the research on professional noticing at more advanced levels, particularly college students. The purpose of this study was to take the concept of professional noticing and apply it to mathematics education at the post-secondary level. Specifically, the question we sought to answer in this study was: To what extent do mathematics and physics Teaching Assistants (TAs) attend and interpret student thinking when making decisions in their classroom? Mathematics and Physics TAs (n = 20) participated in this study focusing on their professional noticing skills when analyzing a college student struggling with two calculus-based problems. Results show that the TAs struggle most with interpreting student understanding and that those with more experience are better at deciding the next steps. Additionally, there is some data to support that knowledge of the content can impact their decision-making skills.

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University of Montana, Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library