The role of prior mathematical experience in predicting mathematics performance in higher education

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Dono: Marcos Pedroso

Versão: 1.0

Última Atualiz.: 01-11-2018 15:00

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Evidence of deficiencies in basic mathematical skills of beginning undergraduates has
been documented worldwide. Many different theories have been set out as to why these
declines in mathematical competency levels have occurred over time. One such theory
is the widening access to higher education which has resulted in a less mathematically
prepared profile of beginning undergraduates than ever before. In response to this situation,
the present study details the examination of a range of methods through which a
student’s mathematical performance in higher education could be predicted at the beginning
of their third-level studies. Several statistical prediction methods were examined
and the most effective method in predicting students’ mathematical performance was
discriminant analysis. The discriminant analysis correctly classified 71.3% of students
in terms of mathematics performance. An ability to carry out such a prediction in turn
allows for appropriate mathematics remediation to be offered to students predicted to
fail third-level mathematics. The results of the prediction of mathematical performance,
which was carried out using a database consisting of over 1000 beginning undergraduates
over a 3-year period, are detailed in this article along with the implications of such
findings to educational policy and practice.

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