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Article

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This item is available under a Creative Commons License for non-commercial use only

Disciplines

*pedagogy

Abstract

A continuing cause for concern in higher education institutions is the poor core mathematical skills of incoming students. Many institutions now offer mathematics support services such as drop-in centres, online resources and short “refresher courses” in an attempt to alleviate the problem. The majority of third level institutions in Ireland and internationally now make use of diagnostic testing of incoming first year students that both predict subsequent success and select groups for remediation. This project was developed to explore the issues around diagnostic testing and follow up support for incoming students in the College of Sciences and Health. A large cohort of first year science students were tested and those who failed to achieve 50% on the test were offered support. This support came in the form of peer-assisted student-led tutorials during which students had the opportunity to revise basic areas of mathematics. On comparison of the scores on the diagnostic test with the end of module results there is a correlation between students who scored poorly on the diagnostic test and students who failed the Semester 1 mathematics module.

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