Investigating students’ perceptions of graduate learning outcomes in mathematics

Deborah King, Cristina Varsavsky, Shaun Belward, Kelly Matthews

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The purpose of this study is to explore the perceptions mathematics students have of the knowledge and skills they develop throughout their programme of study. It addresses current concerns about the employability of mathematics graduates by contributing much needed insight into how degree programmes are developing broader learning outcomes for students majoring in mathematics. Specifically, the study asked students who were close to completing a mathematics major (n = 144) to indicate the extent to which opportunities to develop mathematical knowledge along with more transferable skills (communication to experts and non-experts, writing, working in teams and thinking ethically) were included and assessed in their major. Their perceptions were compared to the importance they assign to each of these outcomes, their own assessment of improvement during the programme and their confidence in applying these outcomes. Overall, the findings reveal a pattern of high levels of students’ agreement that these outcomes are important, but evidence a startling gap when compared to students’ perceptions of the extent to which many of these–communication, writing, teamwork and ethical thinking–are actually included and assessed in the curriculum, and their confidence in using such learning.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S67-S80
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Mathematical Education in Science and Technology
Volume48
Issue numberS1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 Oct 2017

Keywords

  • employability skills
  • graduate outcomes
  • student perceptions
  • Undergraduate mathematics

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