Predicting achievement in mathematics at tertiary level.

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dc.contributor.author Eiselen, Rietta Johanna
dc.date.accessioned 2008-06-05T11:40:43Z
dc.date.available 2008-06-05T11:40:43Z
dc.date.issued 2008-06-05T11:40:43Z
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10210/547
dc.description.abstract In view of the National Plan for Higher Education (Department of Education, 2001) that calls for an increased throughput of students at higher education institutions within South Africa, a quantitative study was undertaken at a particular higher education institution during 2005 to identify factors associated with achievement in mathematics at entry level to tertiary studies. Factors considered in this study pertained specifically to those that may facilitate the introduction of intervention aimed at assisting students enrolled for mathematics at tertiary level and who are at risk of failing. Students admitted to either a degree or extended degree programme in science, engineering and technology (SET) in 2005 at the higher education institution constituted the target population. A survey was conducted at the onset of the academic year among students in the target population providing written consent to participate in the study. Three pen-and-paper questionnaires were administered, i.e. a background questionnaire, a newly developed cognitive instrument for the measurement of basic mathematical skills, including mathematics language proficiency, and an adapted instrument, based on an existing standardised instrument, the Study Orientation in Mathematics (SOM) instrument (Maree, Prinsloo & Claassen, 1997), for the measurement of the affective and behavioural domains related to the studying of mathematics. Information regarding student achievement at the end of their first semester of study was obtained from student academic records. Background variables, in particular being an English second language (ESL) student and having received home language tuition at school were shown to be associated with the initial preparedness of students, i.e. their Grade 12 achievement. These variables did not, however, directly contribute towards the prediction of achievement at entry level to the institution. The extent to which students have acquired basic mathematical skills, particularly mathematical language proficiency (not necessarily reflected in their Grade 12 results) was shown to contribute significantly towards the prediction of achievement in mathematics at entry level. In addition, anxiety and attitude towards mathematics and the utilisation of effective study behaviour were also shown to be associated with achievement; the latter contributing significantly towards the prediction of achievement at entry level for both degree and extended degree programme students. The findings culminated in recommendations for tertiary institutions, educators and those embarking on future research relating to the theme in question. The issue of measuring basic mathematical skills, including mathematical language proficiency and study strategies of students studying towards careers in SET at the onset of their studies and providing support to improve these, is emphasised. en
dc.description.sponsorship Prof. J. Strauss en
dc.language.iso en en
dc.subject mathematics study and teaching (Higher) en
dc.subject academic achievement en
dc.subject college students en
dc.subject prediction of scholastic success en
dc.title Predicting achievement in mathematics at tertiary level. en
dc.type Thesis en

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