Skip to ContentSkip to Navigation
About us Latest news Events PhD ceremonies

“I just do not understand the logic of this”

Intervention Study Aimed at Secondary School Students’ Development of Logical Reasoning Skills
PhD ceremony:Mr H. (Hugo) Bronkhorst
When:September 17, 2021
Supervisor:prof. dr. M.J. (Martin) Goedhart
Co-supervisors:dr. G. (Gerrit) Roorda, dr. C.J.M. (Cor) Suhre
Where:Academy building RUG
Faculty:Science and Engineering
“I just do not understand the logic of this”

Logical reasoning is key for the development of critical thinking as a 21st century skill. Logical reasoning has been part of one  of the Mathematics courses in the Netherlands since 2015. One of the objectives of this domain is to support pre-university students’ reasoning skills in a variety of societally relevant topics. Because courses in formal logic often did not result in the desired outcomes, Hugo Bronkhosrt developed an intervention in which societally relevant contexts, such as newspaper articles, were central.

Bronkhorst: 'The focus of the lessons during our intervention at eight schools was on developing and learning to use appropriate formalisations, visualisations, and schematisations, which were intended to support students’ reasoning. Important was the specific attention to the links between the different representations (based on the model of concreteness fading). Other literature-based design characteristics were: students exchanging ideas in small groups, formative feedback and class discussions on the strategies students used. We showed that the reasoning skills of students from the experimental group improved significantly and that those students also used significantly more formalisations. We provided evidence that our approach stimulated and supported the learning of logical reasoning and recommend to include this domain in all mathematics subjects. Preferably, it should be taught cross-curricular. In the light of the ongoing curriculum reform in the Netherlands (, this offers great opportunities to seek collaboration with other subjects where reasoning and analysing arguments play an important role.'