Mathematical prerequisites for learning statistics in Psychology: Assessing core skills of numeracy and mathematical reasoning among undergraduates.

Gerard Mulhern, Judith Wylie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This study sought to extend earlier work by Mulhern and Wylie (2004) to investigate a UK-wide sample of psychology undergraduates. A total of 890 participants from eight universities across the UK were tested on six broadly defined components of mathematical thinking relevant to the teaching of statistics in psychology - calculation, algebraic reasoning, graphical interpretation, proportionality and ratio, probability and sampling, and estimation. Results were consistent with Mulhern and Wylie's (2004) previously reported findings. Overall, participants across institutions exhibited marked deficiencies in many aspects of mathematical thinking. Results also revealed significant gender differences on calculation, proportionality and ratio, and estimation. Level of qualification in mathematics was found to predict overall performance. Analysis of the nature and content of errors revealed consistent patterns of misconceptions in core mathematical knowledge , likely to hamper the learning of statistics.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)119-132
Number of pages14
JournalPsychology Learning and Teaching
Volume5 (2)
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2006

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