Carr, M. and Bowe, B. and Ní Fhloinn, E.
(2013)
*Core skills assessment to improve mathematical competency.*
pp. 608-619.
ISSN 03043797 (ISSN)

## Abstract

Many engineering undergraduates begin third-level education with significant deficiencies in their core mathematical skills. Every year, in the Dublin Institute of Technology, a diagnostic test is given to incoming first-year students, consistently revealing problems in basic mathematics. It is difficult to motivate students to address these problems; instead, they struggle through their degree, carrying a serious handicap of poor core mathematical skills, as confirmed by exploratory testing of final year students. In order to improve these skills, a pilot project was set up in which a 'module' in core mathematics was developed. The course material was basic, but 90% or higher was required to pass. Students were allowed to repeat this module throughout the year by completing an automated examination on WebCT populated by a question bank. Subsequent to the success of this pilot with third-year mechanical engineering students, the project was extended to five different engineering programmes, across three different year-groups. Full results and analysis of this project are presented, including responses to interviews carried out with a selection of the students involved. © 2013 SEFI.

Item Type: | Article |
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Additional Information: | Cited By :3; Export Date: 23 February 2015; Correspondence Address: Carr, M.; Dublin Institute of Technology, Dublin, Ireland; email: michael.carr@dit.ie; References: Breen, S., Cleary, J., O'Shea, A., An Investigation of the Mathematical Literacy of First Year Third-level Students in the Republic of Ireland (2008) International Journal of Mathematical Education in Science and Technology, 24, pp. 223-229; Brown, G., Bull, J., Pendelbury, M., (1997) Assessing Student Learning in Higher Education, , London, London,: Routledge; Carr, M., Bowe, B., Ní Fhloinn, E., Improving Core Mathematical Skills in Engineering Undergraduates (2010) 15th SEFI MWG Seminar on Mathematics in Engineering Education, , http://sefi.htwaalen.de/Seminars/Wismar2010/SEFI/papers_pdfs/MWG2010_Carr_C.pdf, Wismar, Germany, Wismar, [Online]. Accessed July 5, 2012; Carr, M., Murphy, E., Bowe, B., Ní Fhloinn, E., Addressing Continuing Mathematical Deficiencies with Advanced Mathematical Diagnostic Testing (2012) 16th SEFI MWG Seminar on Mathematics in Engineering Education, , http://sefi.htw-aalen.de/Seminars/Salamanca2012/16thSEFIMWGSeminar/ficheros/lecturas/Documents_pdf/Session5/SEFIMWG12_MCarr.pdf, Salamanca, Spain [Online], Accessed July 5, 2012; Cleary, J., Diagnostic Testing - An Evaluation 1998-2007 (2007) Proceedings of Second National Conference on Research in Mathematics Education (MEI2), pp. 215-227. , In: Close S., Dooley T., editors, edited by, Dublin, Dublin,: St. Patrick's College; Edwards, P., Some Mathematical Misconceptions on Entry to Higher Education (1995) Teaching Mathematics and its Applications, 14 (1), pp. 23-27; Faulkner, F., Hannigan, A., Gill, O., Trends in the Mathematical Competency of University Entrants in Ireland by Leaving Certificate Mathematics Grade (2010) Teaching Mathematics and its Applications, 29 (2), pp. 76-93; Gill, O., O'Donoghue, J., The Mathematical Deficiencies of Students Entering Third Level: An Item by Item Analysis of Student Diagnostic Tests (2007) Proceedings of Second National Conference on Research in Mathematics Education (MEI2), pp. 228-239. , In: Close S., Corcoran D., Dooley T., editors, edited by, Dublin, Dublin,: St. Patrick's College; Lawson, D.A., What can we Expect of A Level Mathematics Students? (1997) Teaching Mathematics and its Applications, 16 (4), pp. 151-156; Lawson, D.A., Changes in Student Entry Competencies 1991-2001 (2003) Teaching Mathematics and its Applications, 22 (4); Lee, S., Harrison, M.C., Pell, G., Robinson, C.L., Predicting Performance of First Year Engineering Students and the Importance of Assessment Tools Therein (2008) Journal of the Higher Education Academy Engineering Subject Centre, 3 (1), pp. 44-51; Lee, S., Robinson, C.L., Diagnostic Testing in Mathematics: Paired Questions (2005) Teaching Mathematics and its Applications, 24 (4), pp. 154-166; Marjoram, M., Moore, D., O'Sullivan, C., Robinson, P., Implementing a Key Skills in Mathematics Initiative (2008) Proceedings of Mathematical Education of Engineers; Ní Fhloinn, E., Maths Diagnostic Report (2006) Internal report, , Dublin Institute of Technology; O'Grady, M., Guilfoyle, B., (2007) Evidence of Grade Inflation 1994-2004 in the Institute of Technology Sector in Ireland, , http://www.stopgradeinflation.ie, Accessed October 2012; Ramsden, P., (1992) Learning to Teach in Higher Education, , New York, New York,: Routledge; Robinson, C.L., Croft, A.C., Engineering Students - Diagnostic Testing and Follow-up (2003) Teaching Mathematics and its Applications, 22 (4), pp. 177-181; (2005) Academic Success, Failure and Withdrawal Among First Year Engineering Students: Was Poor Mathematical Knowledge a Critical Factor?, , http://www.level3.dit.ie, Russell, Accessed December 2012; Todd, K.L., (2003) An Historical Study of the Correlation Between GCE Advanced Level Grades and the Subsequent Academic Performance of Well Qualified Students in a University Engineering Department, , http://www.mathcentre.ac.uk/resources/mathsteam/todd.pdf, Accessed December 2012; Warwick, J., Exploring Student Expectations in Mathematics Learning and Support (2010) Teaching Mathematics and its Applications, 29 (1), pp. 14-24 |

Uncontrolled Keywords: | basic mathematics improvement; core mathematical skills; diagnostic testing; Basic mathematics; Engineering programmes; Engineering undergraduates; Exploratory testing; First year students; Mechanical engineering students; Mathematical techniques; Students |

Depositing User: | Colin Lowry |

Last Modified: | 27 Nov 2015 02:35 |

URI: | http://eprints.teachingandlearning.ie/id/eprint/1943 |

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