Article in the Conversation here
Tag Archives: Assumed Knowledge
In the wake of the University of Sydney’s decision to introduce mathematics prerequisites, AMSI Director Geoff Prince writes in the AFR (4/2/2016) about how university requirements have an impact on mathematical capabilities needed in the workforce. ‘It was FYiMaths which discovered the extent of prerequisite failure in Australia and they are actively engaging universities to persuade them of the dangers of relying on “assumed knowledge” of maths.’
From 2019 students will need to have passed the NSW Higher School Certificate (HSC) two-unit Mathematics subject to enrol in any engineering or IT bachelor degree, nearly all science bachelor degrees, and bachelor degrees in economics, commerce, pharmacy and veterinary science at The University of Sydney.
In case you missed this article in IJISME late last year – Mastery Learning to Address the Assumed Mathematics Knowledge Gap Encourage Learning and Reflection, and Future-proof Academic Performance, by Layna Groen, Mary Coupland, Julia Memar, Tim Langtry. Using mastery learning to help underprepared students is showing some promising results at UTS.
Also listed on our Resources/Teaching page under Dealing with student diversity
In Ireland the mathematics entry requirements for technology related degrees has been highlighted in recent newspaper articles. A report by the Irish Higher Education Authority released in recent days shows high drop out rates in technology related courses. A newspaper article highlights academics concerns that students struggle due to inadequate mathematics background and another reports that some colleges may consider raising their entry requirements for mathematics.
As in Australia these concerns are heightened by the need to boost workforce capabilities in IT and technology.
In the new issue of The Update (Nov, 2015), AMSI Director Geoff Prince writes about the consequences of removing maths prerequisites from university entry and how reinstating them is an important step in sustaining mathematical capabilities – with expert commentaries from Ian Chubb, Alan Finkel, Deb King, Scott Ryan and Terry Speed.
The Mathematical Association of America (MAA) has recently released a report on why so many students who succeed in high school calculus then struggle in first year college calculus. While the US education system has challenges related to specifics of secondary education and curriculum, there are many similarities with the challenges for mathematics education here.
In particular the report highlights the mismatch between students’ high level of confidence entering first year and their subsequent failure or low grades. It is also clear that while some students can master advanced concepts, they do not have a solid enough background in more fundamental mathematical concepts.
An article in the US Conversation about the report states,
“the crux of the problem: students lacking the requisite foundational abilities may not succeed because the college faculty member expects them to be at ease with these more basic ideas, freeing them to absorb and understand the new, more conceptual material.”
The impact of assumed knowledge entry requirements emerged as a significant issue in our data collection for the FYiMaths project. Read about it in the latest articles in the International Journal of Mathematical Education in Science and Technology.
King, D., & Cattlin, J. (2015). The impact of assumed knowledge entry standards on undergraduate mathematics teaching in Australia. International Journal of Mathematical Education in Science and Technology, 1-14. doi: 10.1080/0020739X.2015.1070440
We conducted a survey in June 2015 of mathematics entry requirements for Bachelor degree programmes in Science, Engineering and Commerce at Australian Universities. The results have been collated and are now available here.
We are conducting a brief survey about the mathematics entry requirements for a range of degrees offered by Australian Universities. The survey is open now until CoB Thursday 11th June.
Editorial article by Deb King in Fairfax press Compulsory maths: it’s an answer in search of a problem
In the last 12 months many have voiced their concerns about the mathematical background of students entering university science, technology, engineering and mathematics degrees. This special issue of the International Journal of Innovation in Science and Mathematics Education (IJISME) focuses on the impact of assumed knowledge entry requirements and demonstrates the impact from various disciplines’ perspectives.
This issue builds on and extends the presentations at the National Forum on Assumed knowledge in maths: its broad impact on tertiary STEM programs, held at The University of Sydney, in February 2014.
An article in today’s SMH refers to a report by John Kennedy, Terry Lyons & Frances Quinn Continuing decline of science and mathematics enrolments in Australian high schools‘ published in the journal ‘Teaching Science’. The report analyses raw data from education departments in each state for the period 1992-2012 and discusses the overall decline in enrolments in science and mathematics. It discusses enrolment trends for each level of mathematics subjects and provides a useful comparative table for mathematics subjects across the states.