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Title: Progression within mathematics degree programmes
Authors: Croft, Tony
Grove, Michael
Issue Date: 2015
Publisher: The University of Birmingham with The Higher Education Academy / © The Editors and The Authors
Citation: CROFT, T. and GROVE, M., 2015. Progression within mathematics degree programmes.IN: Grove, M. ... et al, (eds). Transitions in Undergraduate Mathematics Education. Birmingham: University of Birmingham, pp. 173 - 189.
Abstract: Several independent research projects report that the enjoyment of mathematics by many undergraduate mathematicians decreases as they progress through their degree programme and this decrease is accompanied by increasing disillusionment and disengagement with their course and alienation from mathematics itself. These are students who choose to study mathematics at university and who are relatively well-qualified. Moreover, it is often the case that students who report such feelings are not failing students – indeed many are doing rather well. Of course, many other students find their undergraduate experience of mathematics to be extremely rewarding but the prevalence of studies reporting disaffection suggests that this is an issue worthy of exploration within a book on transitional issues affecting undergraduate mathematicians. This chapter will review the evidence for this phenomenon and unpick the reasons students give for their changes in attitude to mathematics. After establishing the context for the chapter we present a brief review of the literature in this field. The evidence suggests that this state of affairs can be attributed, at least in part, to the mismatch between students’ hopes, expectations and aspirations and the reality of learning mathematics at university level. Sometimes, traditional pedagogies and practices can exacerbate this situation. We will go on to provide several examples of ways in which some lecturers and departments have attempted to modify practices in order to improve the student experience of university mathematics. We summarise the findings of selective activities and projects that provide pointers in the hope that they might inspire or provoke a discussion amongst individual lecturers and more widely within departments about ways in which disillusionment, disengagement and alienation might be ameliorated so that the experience of undergraduate mathematics is truly rewarding for all who choose to study it.
Description: This book chapter is available here with the kind permission of the publisher.
Version: Published
URI: https://dspace.lboro.ac.uk/2134/17240
Publisher Link: http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/transitions
ISBN: 9781909557062
Appears in Collections:Book Chapters (Mathematics Education Centre)

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