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Easing the Transition from School Mathematics to University

Lead Institution: Kingswood School

Project Summary

Easing the Transition from School Mathematics to University - Researching Student Perspectives and Providing CPD Support to Academics 

National HE STEM Programme

National HE STEM Programme

This project sought to gain an understanding of the mathematical experiences of HE students in the South West, through a grounded theory approach. A recent report undertaken by the More Maths Grads project, Maths at University: Reflections on Experience, Practice and Provision, mentioned that the transition from A level to university is oft-cited by undergraduate students as of particular difficulty. This project developed a better understanding of these difficulties through researching student perspectives and then, using data gathered, providing appropriate continuous professional development (CPD) support to academics, enabling them to develop and deliver better first year Maths modules.

Information gathered from both students and staff formed the basis for a series of recommendations regarding the support and development of the teaching and learning of undergraduate students. The project focused on the University of Bath, providing Maths CPD opportunities to academics in the Civil Engineering and Computer Science departments. 

Aims & Objectives

The aim of the project was to:

Develop an understanding of the experiences of Maths students in the south west, and to use this information to support academics at the University of Bath to enhance their Maths-related teaching and learning strategies for first year students.

In achieving this aim, the project:

1. Surveyed and interviewed a range of existing Maths undergraduates about their transition experiences from school to university Mathematics

2. Used the data collated from students to shape CPD support for academics at the University of Bath, specifically:

  • Using a Collaborative Practice Model to support a Civil Engineering lecturer to improve delivery of mathematical topics such as vectors. This model included the production of video observation materials alongside reflections from the lecturer and students on the Collaborative Practice Model and the lecture materials produced
  • Encouraging a Computer Science lecturer to observe sixth form lessons in a local school to gain a better insight into the A level students they subsequently teach.

In its entirety, the project nurtured collaboration between school teachers and university lecturers and in so doing, prompted the creation of first year lecture materials that better assisted the transition from school to university Mathematics. 

Staff involved

Garrod Musto
Project lead, Kingswood School