Early mathematical reasoning : Theoretical foundations and possible assessment
Mathematical reasoning is a complex skill and as such requires coherent cumulative learning experiences. Although there is a strong research base on mathematical reasoning at the secondary level, it is hardly investigated in early mathematics education so far. There is a lack of theoretical conceptions of early mathematical reasoning as well as of empirical findings concerning prerequisites and forms of mathematical reasoning of young children. In this contribution we first discuss the nature of early mathematical reasoning and characterize it along the dimensions knowledge, representations and formulation from a theoretical perspective. This results in a description of facets of early mathematical reasoning processes. Second, we sketch the development of task to assess early mathematical reasoning and provide first empirical findings. The contribution hence provides an approach to further research on early mathematical reasoning with the aim of better understanding an allegedly important root of advanced mathematical thinking.