A-level Mathematics Module Choice and Subsequent Performance in First Year of an Engineering Degree

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Abstract

The A-level Mathematics qualification is based on a compulsory set of pure maths modules and a selection of applied maths modules. The flexibility in choice of applied modules has led to concerns that many students would proceed to study engineering at university with little background in mechanics. A survey of aerospace and mechanical engineering students in our university revealed that a combination of mechanics and statistics (the basic module in both) was by far the most popular choice of optional modules in A-level Mathematics, meaning that only about one-quarter of the class had studied mechanics beyond the basic module within school mathematics. Investigation of student performance in two core, first-year engineering courses, which build on a mechanics foundation, indicated that any benefits for students who studied the extra mechanics at school were small. These results give concern about the depth of understanding in mechanics gained during A-level Mathematics.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages12
JournalMSOR Connections
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Keywords

  • A-level Mathematics
  • module choice
  • engineering
  • mechanics

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