Darja Barr, Department of Mathematics
University of Manitoba
Recently, first-year mathematics instructors at universities across North America and around the globe have been noticing a decline in the mathematics skills and preparation of the incoming student body, and these students have been failing out of first-year mathematics courses at alarming rates. Though some universities have implemented placement or diagnostic tests to measure the preparedness of their incoming students, many still use high school grades as the only indicator of students’ readiness for university mathematics. However, researchers have found mixed results in terms of the effectiveness of high school grades at predicting success in university mathematics courses due to factors such as the misalignment of teaching methods, students’ entering knowledge, and skills, the curricula in high school and university, and high school grade inflation.
This talk focuses on two studies. The first analyzes the relationship between grade 12 Pre-Calculus grades and first-year university Calculus grades at a large Canadian university over the period from 2001–2015, and the second study looks at the effectiveness of the ALEKS placement test at predicting students’ readiness for first-year Calculus.
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