ERIC Number: EJ1142705
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017
Abstractor: As Provided
Are Psychology Students Getting Worse at Math?: Trends in the Math Skills of Psychology Statistics Students across 21 Years
Carpenter, Thomas P.; Kirk, Roger E.
Educational Studies, v43 n3 p282-295 2017
Statistics is an important subject in psychology and social science education. However, inadequate mathematical skills can pose a barrier to learning statistics. Some educators have suggested that students' math skills are declining. The present research examined trends in the math skills of psychology undergraduates across 21 years. Students (n = 3735) who were enrolled in an introductory psychology statistics course from 1990 to 2011 completed a pencil-and-paper math skills test. Over the 21-year period, there was a 9% decline in math skills scores and a 28% increase in the number of attempts required to pass the test. Consistent with national trends, SAT Math scores also increased by 7%; however, the pencil-and-paper math skills test was nearly twice as predictive of course performance as was the SAT. Results suggest that important math abilities have declined. Implications for statistical education in the social sciences are discussed.
Descriptors: Undergraduate Students, Psychology, Majors (Students), Mathematics Skills, Statistics, Educational Trends, Trend Analysis, Introductory Courses, Scores, Predictor Variables, College Entrance Examinations, Data Analysis
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education; High Schools; Secondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: SAT (College Admission Test)