The Social Sciences

Year: 2017
Volume: 12
Issue: 9
Page No. 1516 - 1521

How Well Do University Level Courses Prepare Students to Be Mathematical Thinkers?

Authors : Parmjit Singh, Syazwani Rasid, Nurul Akmal, Teoh Sian Hoon and Cheong Tau Han

Abstract: University students in the field of sciences do indeed take a fairly large number of Mathematics courses (such as Calculus 1 and 2, Algebra, etc.) in order to graduate for their respective degrees. However, have we tried to determine the quality of this knowledge? The quality of student’s Mathematics knowledge is always a crucial matter. In this light, we use problem solving as an assessment tool because it is the means by which Mathematics can be applied to a variety of unfamiliar situations to assess student’s mathematical thinking. Using a descriptive design method, a paper and pencil test comprising 16 items was administered to 120 students (majoring in Mathematics, Physics and Engineering) among semester 5-6 in a college in Klang Valley. All these students have at least taken courses such as Calculus 1, 2 and Algebra as the requirement of their respective courses. The overall means score obtain by the students was 10.50 (SD = 7.72) from a maximum score of 49. The types of errors made by university students were similar as the types made by lower secondary students based on previous research. The findings indicate the university level Mathematics courses taken by students did not reciprocate with their level of expected mathematical thinking that should be displayed by them. It seems to indicate that the current notion of university Mathematics courses is based almost exclusively on formal mathematical procedures and concepts that of their nature are very remote from the conceptual world of the students who are to learn them.

How to cite this article:

Parmjit Singh, Syazwani Rasid, Nurul Akmal, Teoh Sian Hoon and Cheong Tau Han, 2017. How Well Do University Level Courses Prepare Students to Be Mathematical Thinkers?. The Social Sciences, 12: 1516-1521.

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