When a Mathematics Support Pilot Program Fails Miserably: Looking For Answers


The implementation of a Post Entrance Numeracy Assessment (PENA) program at the University of Notre Dame Australia (UNDA) Fremantle campus, demonstrated that many Health Sciences students had inadequate mathematical skills on entry. The development of a support course, offered as a ‘strongly encouraged’ option, resulted in only 4% of students (not achieving the PENA benchmark) actually engaging. Whilst recognizing that Health Science students at this institution have a history of limited engagement with support, this poor level of engagement demanded particular attention. It was clearly linked to mathematics per se, where student negativity to the subject is almost palpable in many undergraduate courses. In attempting to explain this engagement reluctance, the clear need to improve student skills with mathematics demanded a review of how such a support program may be offered.


numeracy assessment, mathematics education


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