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ERIC Number: ED542458
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Dec
Pages: 8
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 6
ISSN: ISSN-1324-9320
Improving Student Engagement in Mathematics Using Simple but Effective Methods
Shearman, Donald; Rylands, Leanne; Coady, Carmel
Australian Association for Research in Education (NJ1), Paper presented at the Joint Australian Association for Research in Education and Asia-Pacific Educational Research Association Conference (AARE-APERA 2012) World Education Research Association (WERA) Focal Meeting (Sydney, New South Wales, Dec 2-6, 2012)
A significant proportion of students enrolling in mathematical subjects designed for non-STEM majors in university courses have minimal mathematical skills and poor motivation. This combination of starting attributes often leads to failure in the first mathematical subject encountered. We have been implementing simple, alternative pedagogies in an attempt to improve student performance in one such first-year subject. The failure rate in this first-year algebra-based mathematics compulsory service subject in a non-STEM discipline has been consistently high, despite many supportive resources being available. Anecdotal evidence suggested that it was students' lack of engagement with all aspects of the subject that accounted for the lack of use of these support mechanisms. Last year, a major change to teaching practice was introduced. Workshops have replaced tutorials with the tutor becoming a facilitator. Problems given are graded in difficulty, allowing students to work at their level. Students' expectations were also discussed and compared to the results of previous cohorts. Different strategies were then put in place with the aim of motivating students to engage with the subject. In this study, results indicating an improvement in student engagement were based on comparing tutorial attendance rates, performance in assessment items and attendance rates in optional support sessions over several years. (Contains 4 tables.)
Australian Association for Research in Education. AARE Secretariat, One Geils Court, Deakin ACT 2600, Australia. Tel: +61-2-6285-8388; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Australian Association for Research in Education (AARE)