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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: https://dspace.lboro.ac.uk/2134/8783

Title: An investigation of Physics undergraduates’ attitudes towards mathematics
Authors: Symonds, Ria
Lawson, Duncan
Robinson, Carol L.
Keywords: Attitudes
Mathematics
Learning approach
Issue Date: 2010
Publisher: Oxford University Press on behalf of The Institute of Mathematics and its Applications © The Author
Citation: SYMONDS, R., LAWSON, D. and ROBINSON, C., 2010. An investigation of Physics undergraduates’ attitudes towards mathematics. Teaching Mathematics and Its Applications, 29 (3), pp. 140-154
Abstract: In recent years, the failure rate on first year mathematics modules on Physics courses at Loughborough University has given cause for concern. It was feared that failure in the first year would result in students performing poorly in future mathematics modules. Hence, a proactive support system was introduced for the mathematically less well-prepared first year Physics students in October 2005. On completion of the first mathematics module, this initiative showed some successful features in terms of the results of the less well-prepared students. However, the use of qualitative research methods revealed a difference in attitudes towards mathematics between the wellprepared and less well-prepared students. This paper outlines the students’ attitudes towards mathematics expressed through questionnaires and individual interviews. It compares the well-prepared and less well-prepared students’ attitudes towards mathematics prior to university and discusses the differences between the two cohorts. The paper also examines how the introduction of a support system has affected the students’ attitudes. A key outcome, in terms of the less well-prepared students, is that the first semester experience was positive in terms of increasing enjoyment of mathematics, but was negative in terms of feeling confident in mathematics. Finally, the paper also analyses data taken from individual interviews with some students on students’ learning approaches towards mathematics. These are investigated closely and comparisons are again made between the well-prepared and less well-prepared students. The analysis reveals that the less well-prepared students failed to adapt their learning approach to one suitable for Higher Education.
Description: This article was accepted for publication in the journal, Teaching Mathematics and Its Applications [Oxford University Press on behalf of The Institute of Mathematics and its Applications © The Author]. The definitive version is available at: http://teamat.oxfordjournals.org/content/29/3/140.short
Version: Accepted for publication
DOI: 10.1093/teamat/hrq009
URI: https://dspace.lboro.ac.uk/2134/8783
Publisher Link: http://teamat.oxfordjournals.org/content/29/3/140.short
ISSN: 0268-3679
Appears in Collections:Published Articles (Mathematics Education Centre)

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