Document Type

Conference Paper


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Students who have not achieved a high level of mathematics at secondary school but have a pass in ordinary level mathematics have the option of entering onto a 3-year Ordinary degree (Level 7). Upon successful completion of this award students may apply to progress to the third year of the Honours degree. Up until relatively recently an upper merit (60%) was the minimum required to make this transition. In recent years this requirement has been reduced with many students with lower marks being offered the possibility of transferring.

Relatively little work has been done on the transition from an Ordinary degree to an Honours degree and in particular the mathematical preparedness of these students. In the third and fourth year of many Honours engineering courses within the DIT it is not unusual to have 30-50% of the students coming from an Ordinary degree background. The majority of these students come from within the DIT while others transfer in from other Institutes of Technology in Ireland. Previous work has shown that students from an Ordinary degree background are more than twice as likely to fail mathematics in their third year of the Honours degree when compared with students who have proceeded directly through an Honours degree programme. In this study we analyse students’ performance across all subjects and examine if there is a relationship between mathematical performance in the final year of the Ordinary degree and overall performance across all subjects in the third and fourth year of the Honours degree.