id: 06619298
dt: j
an: 2016e.00180
au: Maciejewski, Wes; Merchant, Sandra
ti: Mathematical tasks, study approaches, and course grades in undergraduate
mathematics: a year-by-year analysis.
so: Int. J. Math. Educ. Sci. Technol. 47, No. 3, 373-387 (2016).
py: 2016
pu: Taylor \& Francis, Abingdon, Oxfordshire
la: EN
cc: C35 D55
ut: undergraduate mathematics education; student approaches to learning theory;
study process questionnaire; conceptions of mathematics questionnaire
ci:
li: doi:10.1080/0020739X.2015.1072881
ab: Summary: Students approach learning in different ways, depending on the
experienced learning situation. A deep approach is geared toward
long-term retention and conceptual change while a surface approach
focuses on quickly acquiring knowledge for immediate use. These
approaches ultimately affect the students’ academic outcomes. This
study takes a cross-sectional look at the approaches to learning used
by students from courses across all four years of undergraduate
mathematics and analyses how these relate to the students’ grades. We
find that deep learning correlates with grade in the first year and not
in the upper years. Surficial learning has no correlation with grades
in the first year and a strong negative correlation with grades in the
upper years. Using Bloom’s taxonomy, we argue that the nature of the
tasks given to students is fundamentally different in lower and upper
year courses. We find that first-year courses emphasize tasks that
require only low-level cognitive processes. Upper year courses require
higher level processes but, surprisingly, have a simultaneous greater
emphasis on recall and understanding. These observations explain the
differences in correlations between approaches to learning and course
grades. We conclude with some concerns about the disconnect between
first year and upper year mathematics courses and the effect this may
have on students.
rv: