A Practitioner’s Guide to Implementing Cross-Disciplinary Links in a Mathematics Support Program

Deborah C. Jackson, Elizabeth D. Johnson, Tania M. Blanksby


With widening participation in the university sector and the reduction in pre-requisites for entry into many university science courses, students are arriving at university with reduced competencies in mathematics. As quantitative skills are crucial for study in science, under-preparation has direct effects on multiple disciplines. The Maths Skills Program for first year science and statistics students at La Trobe University was developed in collaboration with science coordinators to provide students with mathematics support that highlights the relevance of mathematics to their disciplines. In evaluating the program, both the students and science coordinators were surveyed. The student responses on questionnaires indicated the students saw the relevance of the program to their educational goals, believed the questions written in context helped them learn their subject, and the focus on relevance helped them understand how mathematics was related to their subject. This was in line with the responses from the science coordinators who found the program to be relevant to their disciplines and assisted students in applying mathematics in context.

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