Bridging the gap: a novel approach to mathematics support

Gallimore, Michael and Stewart, Jill (2012) Bridging the gap: a novel approach to mathematics support. In: CETL-MSOR Conference 2012, 12-13 July 2012, University of Sheffield.


Item Type:Conference or Workshop contribution (Paper)
Item Status:Live Archive


The ever growing gap between secondary and university level mathematics is now becoming a major concern to higher education institutions. The increase in diversity of students’ background in mathematics, from students who have studied the more traditional A-level programmes to students with BTEC or international qualifications and part-time students who have been out of education for long periods, means that they are often unprepared for the marked shift in levels and catering for all abilities is difficult in the normal lecture, tutorial format. Lack of sufficient mathematical knowledge not only affects students’ success on courses but also leads to disengagement and thus a high drop-out rate in the first 2 years of study. Many universities now offer a maths support service in an attempt to overcome this but their success is varied. This paper presents a novel approach to maths support designed and adopted by the University of Lincoln, School of Engineering, to bridge this transition gap for students, offer continued support through assessment for learning (AFL) and Individual Learning Plans (ILP’s) and ultimately increase student success, engagement and retention. The paper then extends this proven approach and discusses proposed enhancements through the use of on-line diagnostic testing and implementation of a ‘student expert’ system to harness mathematical knowledge held by those gifted and talented students often overlooked by higher education institutions and to promote peer-to-peer mentoring. The paper shows that with the current support system in place, there is a marked increase in student retention, compared with national benchmark data, and an increase in student engagement and success measured through student feedback and presented retention data.

Keywords:Mathematics Support
Subjects:X Education > X900 Others in Education
Divisions:College of Science > School of Engineering
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ID Code:11822
Deposited On:11 Sep 2013 14:06

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