Preparedness for mathematics at university

Recently the National HE STEM Programme published ‘Mathematics at the Transition to University: A Multi-Stage Problem?‘, an essay by Michael Grove. This explores research into the preparedness of incoming university students (particularly from A Level) over the last 10+ years and points to some work being done by the Programme at the transition to university to address the underlying issues.

Last year I wrote a blog post over on my personal blog, ‘On the Decline of Mathematical Studies, and ever was it so’, which looked at a few historical reports and wondered whether this was  just a case of each generation thinking the next has declining standards. Having read Michael’s piece and interested that the problem may be being reported in the same way while the underlying cause is shifting, I wrote a follow-up blog post, ‘Shifting decline of mathematical preparedness?’, and recorded a segment for this weeks Pod Delusion.

The Pod Delusion is a weekly radio programme and podcast. On its website, it describes itself like this:

The Pod Delusion is a weekly news magazine radio programme and podcast about interesting things. From politics, to science to culture and philosophy, it’s commentary from a secular, rationalist, skeptical, somewhat lefty-liberal, sort of perspective. A bit like From Our Own Correspondent but with more jokes.

The segment I recorded is about six minutes from 38:30 in Pod Delusion episode 114.

On the subject of work the Programme is doing to support students at the transition from school to university, the Mathematical Sciences Strand (of which my project is a part) is supporting a network of sigma maths and stats support centres in England and Wales. The sigma centres at Coventry and Loughborough have jointly won the Times Higher Education Award for Outstanding Student Support.

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