Psychology, nursing and medicine are undergraduate degrees that require students to attain a level of numerical competence for graduation. Yet, the numeracy aspect of these courses is often actively disliked and poorly performed. This study's aim was to identify what factors most strongly predict performance in such courses. Three hundred and twenty-five undergraduate students from these three disciplines were given measures of numeracy performance, maths anxiety, maths attitudes and various demographic and educational variables. From these data three separate path analysis models were formed, showing the predictive effects of affective, demographic and educational variables on numeracy performance. Maths anxiety was the strongest affective predictor for psychology and nursing students, with motivation being more important for medical students. Across participant groups, pre-university maths qualifications were the strongest demographic/educational predictor of performance. The results can be used to suggest ways to improve performance in students having difficulty with numeracy-based modules.
Thompson, R., Wylie, J., Mulhern, G., & Hanna, D. (2015). Predictors of numeracy performance in undergraduate psychology, nursing and medical students. Learning and Individual Differences, 43, 132-139. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.lindif.2015.08.008