Bridging the gap: teaching university mathematics to high school students
Keywords:Mathematics education, highschool
AbstractOver recent years there has been a lot of emphasis placed on the drop in standards of students entering first year university mathematics in Australia. The tertiary sector struggles to handle this increasing gap and, with pressure to maintain student numbers, a common response has been to reduce the difficulty level of the first year mathematics courses. This approach has had limited success, with students passing first year mathematics but lacking preparation for the higher years. If realistic change is to be made in bridging this gap, then the problem needs to be addressed at both the tertiary and secondary level. We investigate the successes and potential failures of running a tertiary level mathematics course over five years at four high schools in North Queensland. This has been a genuine team approach by both university academics and high school mathematics teachers and forged solid links between the sectors. The presence of academics in the high school classrooms as well as students and teachers attending university activities led to a greater understanding of perceived difficulties on both sides. The `Mathematics into high schools' program proves to be a small but significant start in helping to bridge the secondary-tertiary gap. References
- S. Barry and I. Chapman, Predicting University Performance. ANZIAM J., 49(E):C36--C50, 2007. http://anziamj.austms.org.au/ojs/index.php/ANZIAMJ/article/view/304/145.
- C. Bellimo and R. Strapp, A survey of advanced mathematics topics: a new high school mathematics class International Journal of Mathematical Education in Science and technology, 39 no. 1, 2008, 13--22.
- S. Belward, D. Mullamphy, W. Read and G. Sneddon, Preparation of Students for Tertiary studies involving Mathematics. ANZIAM J., 48(E):C840--C857, 2007. http://anziamj.austms.org.au/V47EMAC2005/Belward/home.html.
- D. Bressoud, Meeting the Challenge of High School Calculus. MAA Focus, 30(1):27, 2010. http://www.maa.org/pubs/febmar10_focus.pdf
- A. Heck and L. Van Gastel, Mathematics on the Threshold International Journal of Mathematical Education in Science and technology, 37 no. 8, 2006, 925--945. doi:10.1080/00207390600819003.
- M. Hourigan and J. O'Donoghue, Mathematical Underpreparedness; the influence of the pre-tertiary mathematics experience on students' ability to make a successful transition to tertiary level mathematics courses in Ireland International Journal of Mathematical Education in Science and technology, 38 no. 4, 2007, 461--476. doi:10.1080/00207390601129279.
- A. Kajander and M. Lovric, Transition from secondary to Tertiary Mathematics International Journal of Mathematical Education in Science and technology, 36 nos. 2--3, 2005, 149--160.
- H. Luk, The gap between Secondary School and University Mathematics International Journal of Mathematical Education in Science and technology, 36 nos. 2--3, 2005, 161--174. doi:10.1080/00207390412331316988.
- L. Mackenzie, Engaging Secondary Students in the University Experience, Ninth Pacific Rim Conference First Year in Higher Education: Nuts and Bolts Presentation, 2006 http://www.fyhe.com.au/past_papers/2006/Nuts%20%26%20Bolts/MacKenzie.pdf
- Bulletin for AP Students and Parents, The College Board, 2009. http://professionals.collegeboard.com/profdownload/ap-student-parent-bulletin-2009-10.pdf.
Proceedings Engineering Mathematics and Applications Conference