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Why do students fail university mathematics?: Informing teachers through the student perspective

Geerlings, P.M., Cole, H. and Fletcher, D.ORCID: 0000-0003-4731-1845 (2014) Why do students fail university mathematics?: Informing teachers through the student perspective. In: The Conversation. Murdoch University Symposium on Learning & Teaching, 26 - 28 August 2015, Murdoch University, Perth, Western Australia.

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The proportion of non-school-leavers entering university has increased. Many have been away from mathematics for some considerable time, and school-leavers are now arriving less prepared. Many university courses mandate the study of a mathematics unit in the first year, but unprepared students find these challenging. In 2010, Murdoch University integrated a voluntary online diagnostic quiz (Figure 1) into the enrolment process for units of study that required numeracy, enabling students to assess their own mathematical ability, and further direct them to the extra-curricular, pre-commencement ‘Bridging Maths’ program (Figure 2). Students who have insufficient background in mathematics are encouraged to study MAS164 ‘Fundamentals of Mathematics’, and there are support programs and help-clinics for this and other mathematics units. Despite the perceived availability and success of extra-curricular support programs, every year a considerable number of students fail mathematics in their first year at university. Are we missing something? What could we be doing differently?

Item Type: Conference Item
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Centre for University Teaching and Learning
School of Engineering and Information Technology
Publisher: Centre for Teaching and Learning, Murdoch Univbersity
Copyright: The Authors
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