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  5. Developing students and tutors perceptions of good mathematical communication on level one service mathematics module MU123: an investigation

Developing students and tutors perceptions of good mathematical communication on level one service mathematics module MU123: an investigation

Project leader(s): 
Sally Crighton, Andrew Potter and Gerry Golding
Theme: 
Faculty: 
STEM
Status: 
Current

The project addresses the issue of good mathematical communication for level one mathematics students. One of the key difficulties students face when new or relatively new to studying mathematics, especially in a service mathematics environment, is being able to structure mathematical arguments in a clear and logical manner. Tutors find the process of assessing and teaching good mathematical communication skills challenging, particularly for a diverse student cohort with varying degrees of mathematical fluency and background. Current practice varies considerably amongst tutors and this can lead to inconsistent assessment of learning outcomes which can prove to be frustrating for students.

In an attempt to reduce variability and subjectivity, it is proposed to undertake action research with the aim of developing a holistic approach to GMC which will inform the development of a marking grid which sets out clear expectations for students and tutors alike.

Tutors will be consulted via a number of focus groups on what in their opinion constitutes GMC at each level of mathematical competence attained by students throughout their MU123 journey. In parallel, students’ views will be sought through a number of targeted Adobe Connect sessions designed to cultivate a discourse on GMC and students’ perceptions of their development needs. We will also review the allocation of GMC marks across TMAs to investigate if the current GMC marks allocation is sufficient motivation for students to engage with practice.

It is envisaged that the outcome will consist of an explanatory video/screencast, a number of prescribed tuition interventions for each TMA and a GMC marking grid that tutors will complete as part of each TMA.

Crighton, S., Potter, A. and Golding, G. (2019) Project poster (PDF)

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