id: 05595678
dt: j
an: 2009e.00168
au: Pell, Godfrey; Croft, Tony
ti: Mathematics support ‒ support for all?
so: Teach. Math. Appl. 27, No. 4, 167-173 (2008).
py: 2008
pu: Oxford University Press, Oxford; Institute of Mathematics and its
Applications (IMA), Southend-on-sea, Essex
la: EN
cc: C75 D35
ut: bridging courses; engineering students; effectiveness; universities
ci:
li: doi:10.1093/teamat/hrn015
ab: Summary: Mathematics Support Centres are to be found in various forms in
the majority of UK higher education institutions. They have been
established in order to ease widespread and serious difficulties that a
significant number of students have with mathematics, particularly at
the school-university transition. They usually offer mathematics and/or
statistics support to students across the full range of disciplines
studied. Anecdotal evidence suggests that those students who make good
use of such centres are not just those who struggle with mathematics.
Many frequent users are quite competent and simply want to do better.
The study reported here describes and analyses data from one cohort of
engineering students. A novel aspect is the quantification of the
proportion of support centre visitors who fall into these, and other,
categories. We conclude of the cohort in the study, mathematics support
has improved the pass rate by $\sim 3\%$. Of the failures, about half
$(\sim 4\%$ of the sample total) could well have passed had they
attended the mathematics support centre regularly. Furthermore, the
majority of those attending were not students who were in danger of
failing. This has important implications not only for the design of
mathematics support provision, but also for the performance of the high
fliers. The methodology offers one way tackling the difficult task of
evaluating the effectiveness of mathematics support initiatives.
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