Mathematics Support Centres:  Who uses them & who doesn’t? Why and why not? Duncan Lawson, Carol Robinson  & Ria Symonds 1
Overview <ul><li>Background -  story </li></ul><ul><li>Some quantitative data </li></ul><ul><li>Some qualitative data from...
Background <ul><li>Maths support centres started from a desire to help failing students </li></ul><ul><li>The theory was t...
Quantitative Data <ul><li>From Loughborough Maths Learning Support Centre </li></ul><ul><li>Academic Year 2006/7 </li></ul...
Who came? Fail (<40%) Pass  (40-69%) Excellent Pass (>69%) 0 visits 67 338 122 1 visit 6 52 23 >1 visit 5 83 48
Who came more than once? <ul><li>1 in 4 students who achieved a 1 st  class mark (>69%) </li></ul><ul><li>1 in 8 students ...
Chicken and Egg? <ul><li>Do students fail because they don’t come? </li></ul><ul><li>OR </li></ul><ul><li>Do failing stude...
Qualitative Data <ul><li>Focus groups / in –depth interviews with non-users </li></ul><ul><li>On the spot – quick intervie...
Reasons for non-use Reason Failed (17) Passed (60) Total Lack of awareness of location 6 21 27 Lack of awareness of facili...
Reason 1 <ul><li>Lack of awareness of the location of the support centre </li></ul>10 <ul><li>If you had a broken arm woul...
<ul><li>Lack of awareness of the facilities of the centre </li></ul>Reason 2 “ I completely forgot about it after the firs...
<ul><li>Lack of awareness of the need of the mathematics support </li></ul>Reason 3 “ I would say I didn’t really go to th...
<ul><li>Too many problems that need addressing </li></ul>Reason 4 “ I think it was more just I’d come and have so many que...
<ul><li>Fear of embarrassment or intimidation </li></ul>Reason 5 “ I think probably just the embarrassment, because I feel...
Qualitative Data from users <ul><li>From interviews with regular users of the support centre </li></ul><ul><li>29 students...
Self-concept <ul><li>Do you view yourself as a MATHEMATICICAN? </li></ul>YES  25%   29%   46% NO  Same/Middle  25%   64%  ...
Why did they come? <ul><li>Motivation to make the initial visit </li></ul>Previously aware of difficulties Encountered a p...
Results - why? <ul><li>Engaged with maths from the outset </li></ul>9 <ul><li>Motivation to make the initial visit </li></...
Why be a regular user? <ul><li>Becoming a regular user </li></ul>“ This year I’ve really been trying by coming here…I got ...
Why be a regular user? <ul><li>Becoming a regular user </li></ul>“ I want to get a good grade so I really needed to go [to...
How do you use the centre? <ul><li>How do students engage with the support? </li></ul><ul><li>“ I use it as a working envi...
<ul><li>How do students engage with the support? </li></ul>“ It’s kind of helped me keep on top of things. Just get everyt...
<ul><li>How do students engage with the support? </li></ul>“ Most of the time I come away realising I knew how to do it, i...
<ul><li>How do students engage with the support? </li></ul>“ I think in most things you’re able to use it [the help] in an...
<ul><li>How do students engage with the support? </li></ul>“ It’s [the MLSC] helped with motivation. If you understand som...
Regular User Engaged     with maths    with their course Motivated     generally motivated  individuals    to succeed/...
<ul><li>More able students using support seeking excellence </li></ul><ul><li>Use support to reinforce belief in ability, ...
<ul><li>Any Questions? </li></ul><ul><li>Duncan Lawson – d.lawson@coventry.ac.uk </li></ul>20
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Professor Duncan Lawson, University of Coventry: Mathematics Support Centres: Who uses them, and who doesn’t? Why and Why not?

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Professor Duncan Lawson, University of Coventry: Mathematics Support Centres: Who uses them, and who doesn’t? Why and Why not?

  1. 1. Mathematics Support Centres: Who uses them & who doesn’t? Why and why not? Duncan Lawson, Carol Robinson & Ria Symonds 1
  2. 2. Overview <ul><li>Background - story </li></ul><ul><li>Some quantitative data </li></ul><ul><li>Some qualitative data from non-users </li></ul><ul><li>Some qualitative data from users </li></ul><ul><li>Summary </li></ul>2
  3. 3. Background <ul><li>Maths support centres started from a desire to help failing students </li></ul><ul><li>The theory was that if you offer them extra support they will take it and get better </li></ul><ul><li>Then pass, retention and progression rates will all improve. </li></ul>
  4. 4. Quantitative Data <ul><li>From Loughborough Maths Learning Support Centre </li></ul><ul><li>Academic Year 2006/7 </li></ul><ul><li>STEM first year students </li></ul><ul><li>744 in total </li></ul>
  5. 5. Who came? Fail (<40%) Pass (40-69%) Excellent Pass (>69%) 0 visits 67 338 122 1 visit 6 52 23 >1 visit 5 83 48
  6. 6. Who came more than once? <ul><li>1 in 4 students who achieved a 1 st class mark (>69%) </li></ul><ul><li>1 in 8 students who achieved a standard pass (40-69%) </li></ul><ul><li>1 in 16 students who failed (<40%) </li></ul>
  7. 7. Chicken and Egg? <ul><li>Do students fail because they don’t come? </li></ul><ul><li>OR </li></ul><ul><li>Do failing students not come? </li></ul>
  8. 8. Qualitative Data <ul><li>Focus groups / in –depth interviews with non-users </li></ul><ul><li>On the spot – quick interviews with non-users around campus </li></ul><ul><li>77 non-users in total </li></ul>4
  9. 9. Reasons for non-use Reason Failed (17) Passed (60) Total Lack of awareness of location 6 21 27 Lack of awareness of facilities 4 17 21 Lack of awareness of need of support 8 10 18 Too many problems 2 0 2 Fear of embarrassment 10 10 20
  10. 10. Reason 1 <ul><li>Lack of awareness of the location of the support centre </li></ul>10 <ul><li>If you had a broken arm would you find the hospital? </li></ul>“ I’ve not really known where it was … I knew it was in the Schofield building somewhere but wasn’t sure.”
  11. 11. <ul><li>Lack of awareness of the facilities of the centre </li></ul>Reason 2 “ I completely forgot about it after the first time I’d heard about it.” 10 <ul><li>But there are posters everywhere </li></ul>
  12. 12. <ul><li>Lack of awareness of the need of the mathematics support </li></ul>Reason 3 “ I would say I didn’t really go to the centre because I didn’t really do the problem sheets, so I didn’t know I had problems.” 10 <ul><li>A bit of honesty </li></ul>
  13. 13. <ul><li>Too many problems that need addressing </li></ul>Reason 4 “ I think it was more just I’d come and have so many questions because it was more than one thing I had a problem with. So I didn’t really fancy camping out in the centre.” 10 <ul><li>Only 2 students </li></ul>
  14. 14. <ul><li>Fear of embarrassment or intimidation </li></ul>Reason 5 “ I think probably just the embarrassment, because I feel like I’m that bad at maths.” 10 <ul><li>But you are just who the centre was originally for! </li></ul>
  15. 15. Qualitative Data from users <ul><li>From interviews with regular users of the support centre </li></ul><ul><li>29 students interviewed </li></ul><ul><li>What did these students think about themselves? </li></ul>
  16. 16. Self-concept <ul><li>Do you view yourself as a MATHEMATICICAN? </li></ul>YES 25% 29% 46% NO Same/Middle 25% 64% 11% 89% 4% 7% 36% 0% 64% 50% 11% 39% Do you feel you are BETTER at maths than your friends? Do you feel ABLE in maths? Do you feel TALENTED in maths? Have you ever felt unprepared for maths at university? 8
  17. 17. Why did they come? <ul><li>Motivation to make the initial visit </li></ul>Previously aware of difficulties Encountered a problem in first week Cwk/Exam problem (no prior problems ) HELM workbook <ul><ul><ul><li>Curiosity </li></ul></ul></ul>Somewhere to work 9
  18. 18. Results - why? <ul><li>Engaged with maths from the outset </li></ul>9 <ul><li>Motivation to make the initial visit </li></ul>Previously aware of difficulties Encountered a problem in first week Cwk/Exam problem (no prior problems ) HELM workbook <ul><ul><ul><li>Curiosity </li></ul></ul></ul>Somewhere to work
  19. 19. Why be a regular user? <ul><li>Becoming a regular user </li></ul>“ This year I’ve really been trying by coming here…I got my semester 1 results and they weren’t as high as I thought they would be so that kind of knocked the wind out of my sails.” <ul><ul><ul><li> motivated by failure </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Satisfied with the help received </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li> motivated to come with further problems </li></ul></ul></ul>10
  20. 20. Why be a regular user? <ul><li>Becoming a regular user </li></ul>“ I want to get a good grade so I really needed to go [to the MLSC]…So I’ll come here [the MLSC] and get it all cleared up really.” <ul><ul><ul><li> motivated by failure </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Satisfied with the help received </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li> motivated to come with further problems </li></ul></ul></ul>12 <ul><ul><ul><li> motivated to succeed </li></ul></ul></ul>
  21. 21. How do you use the centre? <ul><li>How do students engage with the support? </li></ul><ul><li>“ I use it as a working environment. It’s quiet and quite closed off. And in the library sometimes you just get people come to socialise half the time.” </li></ul>“ It’s a great place to work. It’s helped me make time and space in my day to get work done.” <ul><ul><ul><li>25 students indicated they regularly used the MLSC as a place to work </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Learning Space  conducive working environment  motivation </li></ul>13
  22. 22. <ul><li>How do students engage with the support? </li></ul>“ It’s kind of helped me keep on top of things. Just get everything done, like if you’re struggling or something I’ll get it sorted rather than leave it until I really have to, like just before a test.” <ul><li>“ I go away from here knowing more from my lectures to be honest. Maybe because they can take the time to explain it, and if I get stuck I can ask them to stop at any point. Because it’s more personal isn’t it.” </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Monitor and direct their own learning </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Emotional security </li></ul></ul></ul>14 How do you use the centre?
  23. 23. <ul><li>How do students engage with the support? </li></ul>“ Most of the time I come away realising I knew how to do it, it’s just made me feel a bit more sure about what I’m doing, so that I know what I’m doing is right. It leaves me feeling more confident to go away and tackle other problems.” <ul><ul><ul><li>Monitor and direct their own learning </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Emotional security </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Confidence </li></ul></ul></ul>15 How do you use the centre?
  24. 24. <ul><li>How do students engage with the support? </li></ul>“ I think in most things you’re able to use it [the help] in another context. You gain more of an understanding of it when you ask. You understand it more than just guessing yourself.” “ I go for a general understanding really. Just trying to get that sorted out and then you can apply that to all the other questions because no two questions are really the same.” <ul><ul><ul><li>Deep learners - intention to understand </li></ul></ul></ul>16 How do you use the centre?
  25. 25. <ul><li>How do students engage with the support? </li></ul>“ It’s [the MLSC] helped with motivation. If you understand something then it propels you to keep working, especially maths...it makes you work and makes you want to keep doing it. Then you’ll practice that because you get the satisfaction of being able to do the problem then.” <ul><ul><ul><li>Positive attitude to mathematics </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li> Enhances motivation </li></ul></ul></ul>17 How do you use the centre?
  26. 26. Regular User Engaged  with maths  with their course Motivated  generally motivated individuals  to succeed/ avoid failure Seeking excellence or Avoiding Failure Obtain Support Learning Space ‘ working environment’ Active participant in own learning Builds Confidence Engage further Able  Generally feel they can ‘do’ maths 18
  27. 27. <ul><li>More able students using support seeking excellence </li></ul><ul><li>Use support to reinforce belief in ability, as a motivator and an aid to success </li></ul><ul><li>Are weaker students alienated by ‘working environment’? </li></ul>Summary 19
  28. 28. <ul><li>Any Questions? </li></ul><ul><li>Duncan Lawson – d.lawson@coventry.ac.uk </li></ul>20

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