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College Students’ and Inservice Teachers’ Evoked Concept Images and Ways of Understanding Congruence

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Eleven years after being put into practice, the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics still take a back seat as traditional approaches drive many secondary geometry classrooms, specifically in regard to congruence. This thesis explores how university students reason about

Eleven years after being put into practice, the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics still take a back seat as traditional approaches drive many secondary geometry classrooms, specifically in regard to congruence. This thesis explores how university students reason about congruence based on their high school learning experience, as well as how in-service geometry teachers reason about and teach congruence. During the Summer of 2020, two distinct surveys were distributed to 33 undergraduate students at Arizona State University and two in-service geometry teachers in Arizona to characterize the ways they understand congruence and reflect on their experiences in secondary geometry classrooms. The results of the survey indicate that students who understood congruence either in terms of corresponding measurements or transformations were successful in identifying congruent shapes, while only students who understood congruence in terms of transformations were successful in constructing congruent shapes. Transformational reasoning was both the most productive and the least prominent way of understanding congruence among students. Their responses to activities and reflections on their experiences also suggested that deductive reasoning is not practiced or prioritized in many secondary geometry classrooms. Teacher understandings of congruence varied, and reflections suggested that development of materials and training that are aligned with the goals of CCSSM for both pre-service and in-service teachers would help teachers create an environment conducive to a transformational understanding of congruence and that promotes deductive reasoning.

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2020-12