Original Research

Reasoning under uncertainty within the context of probability education: A case study of preservice mathematics teachers

Samah G.A. Elbehary
Pythagoras | Vol 42, No 1 | a630 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/pythagoras.v42i1.630 | © 2021 Samah G.A. Elbehary | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 22 May 2021 | Published: 17 December 2021

About the author(s)

Samah G.A. Elbehary, Curriculum and Instruction Department, Faculty of Education, Tanta University, Tanta, Egypt

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Interpreting phenomena under uncertainty stands as a substantial cognitive activity in our daily life. Furthermore, in probability education research, there is a need for developing a unified model that involves several probabilistic conceptions. From this aspect, a central inquiry has been raised through this study: how do preservice mathematics teachers (PSMTs) reason under uncertainty? A multiple case study design was operated in which a purposive sample of PSMTs was selected to justify their reasoning in two probabilistic contexts while their responses were coded by NVivo, and corresponding categories were developed. As a result, PSMTs’ probabilistic reasoning was classified into mathematical (M), subjective (S), and outcome-oriented (O). Besides, several biases emerged along with these modes of reasoning. While M thinkers shared equiprobability and insensitivity to prior probability, the prediction bias and the belief of Allah’s willingness were yielded among S thinkers. Also, the causal conception spread among O thinkers.


Allah’s willingness; Egypt; preservice mathematics teachers; probability biases; reasoning under uncertainty


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