Report from the College Mathematics Project indicates student attitude toward learning directly impacts success
Seneca College led study of 50,000 students releases findings
Toronto, March 31, 2009 – Research from the College Mathematics Project (CMP) finds that students’ developing an attitude of accountability for their own learning skills is key to their success in college and beyond.
CMP Forums were held for hundreds of members of both college and secondary school communities and for the first time, students participated by providing their own anecdotal findings of the college mathematics experience.The CMP Forums confirmed that:
- college students had to take more responsibility for their own learning skills than they had at secondary school. These learning skills include behaviours and attitudes such as independent work, teamwork, organization, work habits/homework and initiative. Some faculty and students went so far as to claim that lack of accountability contributed more to students’ failure in courses than did a lack of formal subject knowledge
Recommendations based on research findings, include:
- Students, parents, secondary schools and colleges should place more emphasis on the value of learning skills by discussing them and ensuring they are well developed before college.
- The need to increase opportunities for dialogue among secondary school and college teachers and faculty, to share experiences and understand the difference in teaching and learning environments in secondary, college and university classrooms.
- The impact of secondary school mathematics course selection on college academic success should be considered.
- In particular, colleges and secondary school guidance staff should clarify which courses best prepare students for their future plans,
- Secondary schools should ensure student access to the necessary courses to be prepared for their future plans, and
- The Ministry of Education should consider revising and simplifying the structure of the mathematics courses in the Ontario curriculum.
“The value of the College Mathematics Project is that it brings schools, colleges, and government together to address a shared concern,” said Laurel Schollen, CMP Project Director and Seneca’s Dean of Applied Science and Engineering Technology. “This is about finding solutions together and improving student success.”
The College Mathematics Project (CMP) 2008, which involved 11 colleges (Algonquin, Centennial, Confederation, Durham, George Brown, Georgian, Humber, Mohawk, Niagara, Seneca and Sheridan) and 28 District School Boards analyzed the school and college records of more than 50,000 students who entered these colleges in September 2007. Of this group, 20,000 took a first semester mathematics course.
The CMP will be expanded in 2009 to include all colleges and school boards in Ontario.
The CMP was conducted by a research team from the York/Seneca Institute for Mathematics, Science and Technology Education, where timely and collaborative research projects are taking place. It was supported by the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Training Colleges and Universities.
For more information on the College Mathematics Report, please visit: http://www.senecac.on.ca/marketing/cmpbackgrounder2009.pdf
To download a copy of the full report and for more information on the College Mathematics Project, please visit:
For updates on the ongoing research, visit: http://www.ysimste.ca
More people choose Seneca than any other college in Canada. With eight campuses across the Greater Toronto Area, Seneca provides internationally and nationally recognized polytechnic education, training, and academic pathways key to graduate career success in the global economy. Every Seneca diploma, certificate and degree program is developed to a high academic standard, in consultation with industry, integrated with information technology, combined with technical and transferable skills, and reinforced by opportunities for ongoing education and re-training.