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Bridging courses for mathematics and science teacher students: Experts` position


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Transition from one study stage to another is not an easy thing. Graduates, who have chosen university studies, quite often face various academic difficulties. In many countries, universities preparing natural science and mathematics teachers hold so-called bridging courses at the beginning of studies. The main purpose of such courses is to decrease the gap between what was learnt at the secondary school and what is necessary at university. In Lithuanian universities, preparing future teachers, bridging course application practice is very poor. It is known very little about the demand of such courses, possible content, structure, realization possibilities. This creates a clear problematic field. A qualitative research was carried out, in which 11 Lithuanian university lecturers-experts took part. The collected data was analysed using content analysis method. It was ascertained that the demand of bridging courses existed, and the students, who have entered a higher school, had school knowledge gaps, which could be at least partly fulfilled by appropriately prepared and realised such courses. It is difficult to evaluate the influence of a bridging course on students’ academic achievements without conducting a detailed research, however, if such courses were included in the programme, it is likely that the students’ study results would be better. Keywords: bridging course, content analysis, qualitative research, university students. *********** Cite as: Lamanauskas, V., & Šlekienė, V. (2020). Bridging courses for mathematics and science teacher students: Experts` position. In. E. Jaszczyszyn (Ed.), Edukacja dorosłych w XXI wieku [Adult education in the 21st century] (pp. 179-189). Instytut Kultury Regionalnej i Badań Literackich im. Franciszka Karpińskiego. ISBN 978-83-66597-01-3.
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... The general expert position has been emphasized that it is difficult to evaluate the influence of a bridging course on students` academic achievements without conducting a detailed research study, however, if such courses were included in the programme, it is likely that students` study results would be better. [8] Therefore, the aim of the research is to preliminary evaluate the prepared Science bridging course for university students and future science teachers. ...
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Bridging courses in science and mathematics are designed seeking to create the conditions that could allow university first year students to fill the gap between what was learnt at school and what is needed at university. Significant preparation gaps are often observed after completing general education. Typically, such courses emphasize diagnostic assessment, individualized teaching, short-term learning goals and learners’ independence. A team of researchers have developed natural science bridging course for prospective natural science teachers. This course was prepared in 2020-2021 as part of the international Erasmus+ project “Bridge2Teach”. One of the key tasks was pilot evaluation and testing of the developed course. The initial course evaluation was conducted with the participation of three experts in the field of natural sciences. Pilot testing was conducted in the autumn semester of 2021 at the Krakow Pedagogical University. Pilot evaluation and testing has shown that the developed Science course is fundamentally effective and beneficial for first-year university students. Various forms and methods of realisation of such a course are possible, the course is characterised by flexibility and high applicability. Keywords: bridging course, Erasmus+ project, pre-service science teachers, university students **** Cite as: Lamanauskas, V., & Nodzyńska-Moroń, M. (2022). Development and pilot evaluation of science bridging course for pre-service science teachers. In Klim-Klimaszewska, A., & Wieruszewska-Duraj, S. (Eds.), Wielowymiarowość edukacji XXI wieku. Edukacja dorosłych [The multidimensionality of the education in the 21st century. Adult education] (Vol. 3, pp. 75-91). Instytut Kultury Regionalnej i Badań Literackich im. Franciszka Karpińskiego.
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Many researchers and education stakeholders in South Africa point to the need to develop teachers' personal knowledge of the mathematics concepts that they teach to their learners. In this research study we explore the understanding of 42 pre-service mathematics teachers of one aspect of school level mathematics, that of quadratic functions. Data were generated from the written responses to an assessment as well as semi-structured interviews. The purpose was to explore the methods used by pre-service mathematics teachers to derive a symbolic equation for a quadratic function expressed in graphical form. Furthermore, we looked at whether the pre-service teachers were able to use different methods to generate the symbolic equation. The results showed that 25 participants were able to determine the equation of a parabola using one method, while 11 of them were able to use two different methods. The most common method used was based on the intercept form of the equation. Some students identified different forms that the equation of a quadratic function could be expressed as but were unable to apply this to derive the equation. These results indicate that these students are not yet ready to teach these school level concepts even though they have studied advanced mathematics topics as part of their pre-service training. The study recommends that pre-service teachers should also be provided with more structured opportunities to help develop pedagogic content knowledge of the school level content as part of their teacher training programme. Keywords: graphical representation, parabola, pre-service mathematics teachers, quadratic functions, symbolic representation.
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Student academic success and positive satisfaction in first year health sciences programs is shaped by their transition experience. An introduction to core knowledge, study skills, and engagement with staff and students has historically been overlooked, but this has been newly recognised as a contributor to first year success, especially with mass higher education of students from diverse backgrounds. The University of South Australia ‘Preparing for Health Sciences’ workshop was designed to assist the student transition into health science programs. The workshop improved confidence and enthusiasm in starting university (56% pre- and 95% post-workshop), and 97% considered the workshop effective overall. Introduction to biological principles was widely considered to be beneficial (87%). The attrition rate after the first semester in 2014 was 7.6%, which is appreciably lower than the standard 12% in science-based courses. These findings demonstrate that an introductory workshop does greatly assist in the transition of students into their health science programs.
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Incl. bibl., index.
The benefits of higher education to individuals and to society are acknowledged both in Australia and internationally. Increased access to higher education means that greatly diverse students are beginning their tertiary learning journey. We investigate the experiences of a group of non-traditional students undertaking a tertiary preparation program at a regional university, based at a satellite campus in a low socio-economic area. Bourdieu’s conceptual tools are used to frame the significance that symbolic capital has on the experience of students. Using phenomenography, the experiences of nine students were recorded and interpreted. Interviews were used to identify which aspects of the university experience they considered were the most important. Students’ motivation, social networks, staffstudent interactions and the various challenges were among the most important experiences mentioned. These combined to create three analogous categories, stairway, doorway and hallway (SDH). The students’ experiences in the program may be likened to a stairway that must be climbed; a doorway that must be passed through; or a hallway that offers opportunities for exploration along the journey. The SDH model is a useful way to categorise students, to identify their experiences and develop strategies to support them.
In this study we investigate the conceptions of mathematics bridging courses held by students enrolled in these courses at a major Australian university. We report on the participants’ responses to email-interview questions about the mathematics bridging courses to describe a two-dimensional outcome space of variations in awareness about the bridging courses. On one dimension the conceptions relate to cognitive functions: the course bridges students’ difficulties with mathematical concepts, helps develop strategies for learning mathematics and extends skills in thinking and reasoning. Categories on the other dimension reflect ideas on how the bridging course advances personal goals and enhances self-development. The findings show that students are aware of the value of the bridging courses not only to ameliorate prior difficulties with mathematics and improve their approaches to learning mathematics but, less transparently, as an important opportunity to facilitate their transition into higher education, meet fellow students and help realise their potential.
In recent years, significant numbers of academics from the science and health disciplines at our institution have found that their students lack the appropriate ‘mathematical’ background to cope with first-year science subjects. Consequently, failure rates are on the increase in these subjects. The mathematical background of students entering university has been found to be a problem in other universities in Australia, as well as in the UK, Ireland and the US. In this report, the authors analyse data on current students' performance and present suggestions for addressing the problems found. The performance of first-year students in four different mathematics and mathematically related subjects is compared to the level of their secondary school mathematics and performance, and to their tertiary entrance score. We conclude that a student's secondary school mathematics background, not their tertiary entrance score, has a dramatic effect on pass rates. On the basis of our findings, a way forward is suggested.
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