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Providing university students vith effective maths support
University West, Department of Engineering Science.
Leeds Universitet, UK.
2013 (English)In: The 41st Annual Congress of the Nordic Educational Research Association: Disruptions and eruptions as opportunities for transforming education. Abstract book., Reykjavik: Nordic Educational Research Association, NERA , 2013, p. 143-Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

European universities are facing the fact that students entering higher education have a diverse

level of maths knowledge which is often below university requirements. Teaching such a diverse

student body is a challenging and complex task. In addition, students struggle with their studies

which affects the university drop-out rate. This paper addresses the use and organisation of

maths support provision in two universities: University West, Sweden and Leeds Metropolitan

University, UK and is part of an on-going research collaboration between the two universities.

The present study evaluates the efficiency of maths support in these institutions from both the

academic staff and students’ perspective. Our study was conducted in two stages, based on

qualitative methodology. We used mixed methods for our data collection: questionnaires for

students, interviews with tutors and observations during the sessions. The combination of these

methods gave us a fuller picture of the effectiveness of maths support in these two universities.

Our study showed that students’ maths abilities and maths support requirements varied a lot.

First year undergraduate students were mainly struggling to cope with their assignments and

were looking for additional support to help with that. Often the lack of maths knowledge was

intertwined with a lack of subject-specific knowledge. From the observations and interviews with

tutors it was noticeable that students tended to adopt a ’solve it for me’ approach. From students’

feedback it was clear that they highly appreciated the maths support provision. They found the

environment more friendly and supportive than normal tutorials. They felt at ease to ask more

questions and to clearly indicate what they did not know. They appreciated that tutors were able

to meet their needs and explained the problems in a variety of ways and in small, easy to follow,

steps.

The paper concludes with recommendations for improving the effectiveness of maths support for

students and discusses how the research can be taken further.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Reykjavik: Nordic Educational Research Association, NERA , 2013. p. 143-
National Category
Natural Sciences
Research subject
SOCIAL SCIENCE, Educational science; SOCIAL SCIENCE, Educational science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hv:diva-5741OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hv-5741DiVA, id: diva2:665552
Conference
The 41st Annual Congress of the Nordic Educational Research Association. Reykjavik March 2013
Available from: 2013-11-20 Created: 2013-11-20 Last updated: 2014-01-14Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
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  • de-DE
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More languages
Output format
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