[22] Student behaviour trends for Engineering Foundation Maths: an example study analysing entry demographics, attendance and attainment data

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PRESENTATION

Student behaviour trends for Engineering Foundation Maths: an example study analysing entry demographics, attendance and attainment data

Author (s)

Elizabeth Evans PhD student
College of Engineering
Dr Karin Ennser (k.ennser@swansea.ac.uk)

Abstract

For Engineering students, mathematical proficiency is essential. Therefore, ensuring that foundation year students achieve the learning outcomes in the Engineering Foundation Maths Module is of upmost importance. Foundation year students have the greatest mixture of abilities and starting qualifications of any commencing cohort, so this factor also needs to be taken into account when determining if students have learnt from a module or have merely maintained a standard of starting knowledge.

We present a multi-variable analysis of Foundation Maths Module 2017/18’s learning outcomes by comparing coursework with January exam marks across 5 demographics of entry levels: those with A level maths required for a 1st year entry onto the Engineering degree scheme; those with A level maths insufficient for direct 1st year entry; those with integrated or similar qualifications such as Welsh Baccalaureate; those with only GCSE maths or equivalent; and those students with non-comparable qualifications such as international students. We also analyse whether there are trends by demographic in class attendance; whether class attendance impacts attainment; and the variation of attainment between open book coursework marks and the closed book January exam. We find a wide range of behaviours across the demographics suggesting that a more targeted teaching approach may be needed to engage, in particular, those with the most and least starting mathematical proficiency.

This work has been used to inform the further development of Engineering Foundation Maths Module and provide a better understand of the students being taught on the module via anonymised group data analysis. We hope that this work will provide a framework and example for other members of Higher Education Institutions to conduct their own investigations into the links between starting knowledge, attendance and attainment especially in areas of key skills such as maths for applied sciences and engineering.

 

Session Outline

This presentation with cover ongoing development work being done to improve the Engineering Foundation Maths Module by analysing student behaviours to determine if learning outcomes have been met. This work will be presented as a framework and example to help others analyse their own modules. We highlight in particular that in modules such as Engineering Foundation Maths, where there is a large variety of backgrounds, simple data analysis may not yield meaningful results. Instead by categorising students by their starting knowledge base we can determine if each of those demographics have reached their learning outcomes.

We hope that this session will help others implement data analysis of learning outcomes as a tool to further develop their own modules. We hope this in turn will help students reach their learning outcomes in those modules.

Key Words

key skills,student attendance,student attainment,developing analysis tools,measuring learning outcomes

Key Messages

– Presenting ongoing development work being done to improve Engineering Foundation Maths Module via data analysis of student behaviours such as January exam attainment

– Providing a method for others to analyse student attendance, attainment and starting knowledge for their own module to determine if learning outcomes have been met.

– Highlighting the varied backgrounds of our students, especially foundation year students, at Swansea and thus providing reasons for why simple data analysis may not provide meaningful insights.

 

 

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