Focus groups, interviews and questionnaires (online and on paper), and observations on/with undergraduate and postgraduate students at Loughborough and other Universities (Generic protocol G09-P1)
The Mathematics Education Centre undertakes research which is focussed upon understanding and improving the experience of students learning mathematics and statistics in the higher education sector. Much of this work, especially aspects associated with reflection and evaluation of teaching and learning activities is regarded as good practice in institutions committed to teaching and improving the student experience.
In order to understand better this experience we undertake focus groups, administer questionnaires and sometimes follow these up with individual interviews. We ask student volunteers to participate in mathematical activities which we monitor and observe. For increasing the size of data sets, and for purposes of comparison we sometimes undertake this work at universities other than Loughborough, with the full knowledge and cooperation of staff and students within those universities.
The Centre is also involved with pioneering new approaches to teaching and learning of mathematics and statistics. As examples, we have made extensive use of electronic voting systems in teaching mathematics to engineers. We have incorporated new software into the teaching of mathematics to SEFS students. In order to undertake a rigorous evaluation of such initiatives it is necessary to gather data from students and, sometimes, to correlate responses with performance in tests and examinations. There are occasions when we wish to analyse examination scripts, for example to identify common errors and misconceptions. It is sometimes of value to correlate responses with prior qualifications.
Diagnostic mathematics testing of whole groups of incoming students is now carried out routinely in most universities. Loughborough is no exception. We correlate findings with past and future performance and report trends and other findings at conferences and in journals.
Note that this protocol is a living document and the most updated version should be sourced from the associated link.
- Mathematics Education Centre