Are first year undergraduates mathematically resilient? A comparison of a STEM and a non-STEM discipline in an Institute of Technology

Louise Duggan, Pamela Cowan, Ian Cantley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The Transition from post-primary to higher education presents many challenges for students, both personally and academically. Widespread concern regarding students’ lack of mathematical preparedness when negotiating the transition to higher education has also been widely documented. The issue of mathematical preparedness is colloquially referred to as the ‘Mathematics problem’ in the literature and specifically refers to the level of mathematical preparedness and skills of students as they commence their undergraduate studies. Mathematics is considered an important component of many degree programs and many students struggle with the mathematical demands of their degree programs due to inadequate and negative prior experiences. The number of disciplines affected by the existence of the ‘mathematics problem’ has also broadened to include disciplines classified as soft pure and soft applied. Several reasons are said to have contributed to the ‘mathematics problem’ within the Irish context and in an attempt to alleviate these concerns and to enable a smooth transition to higher education, the Irish government introduced the Project Maths curriculum. This paper reports on first year undergraduate students’ experiences of the Project Maths curriculum and provides insight into whether students’ ’mathematical resilience’ prepares them for their higher education course.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3169-3178
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal for Cross-Disciplinary Subjects in Education
Volume8
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 01 Sep 2017

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