Perseverance in mathematical reasoning: the role of children’s conative focus in the productive interplay between cognition and affect

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Mathematical reasoning requires perseverance to overcome the cognitive and affective difficulties encountered whilst pursuing a reasoned line of enquiry. The aims of the study were: to understand how children’s perseverance in mathematical reasoning (PiMR) manifests in reasoning activities, and to examine how PiMR can be facilitated through a focus on children’s active goals. The article reports on children aged 10–11 from two English schools, purposively selected for their limited PiMR. Data relating to their cognitive and affective responses and the focus of their attention, a conative component, were collected by observation and interview. The study defines the construct perseverance in mathematical reasoning. Conative characteristics of PiMR were used to analyse the cognitive–affective interplay during reasoning. It revealed the role that children’s active goals play in restricting and enabling PiMR. The article offers new approaches to designing pedagogic interventions and collecting and analysing data relating to perseverance in vivo.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)271-294
Number of pages24
JournalResearch in Mathematics Education
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 3 May 2019


Bibliographical note

This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Research in Mathematics Education on 3/5/2019, available online:


  • perseverance in mathematical reasoning
  • affect
  • conative domain
  • Perseverance in mathematical reasoning

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