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Every Student Counts: Promoting Numeracy and Enhancing Employability Preliminary Findings for History Geoff Timmins (UCLan), Dave Nicholls (MMU), Roger.

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Presentation on theme: "Every Student Counts: Promoting Numeracy and Enhancing Employability Preliminary Findings for History Geoff Timmins (UCLan), Dave Nicholls (MMU), Roger."— Presentation transcript:

1 Every Student Counts: Promoting Numeracy and Enhancing Employability Preliminary Findings for History Geoff Timmins (UCLan), Dave Nicholls (MMU), Roger Lloyd-Jones (SHU) and Naureen Durrani (UCLan) 2. Student survey Responses to a paper-based questionnaire were obtained from st - year, single-honours History students at the three partner institutions. Key findings: 92% hold a maths O-level/GCSE and 6 per cent a maths AS or A2 award (Fig. 1). 54% did not see any value in numerical skills in studying for their degree, but 81% thought they were important with regard to future employment (Fig. 2). In rating (on a scale of 1 to 5) their ability to undertake selected numerical tasks, students expressed highest competency with regard to interpreting graphs and charts and lowest competency in calculating correlations (Fig. 3). 3. Student focus groups Two discussions have taken place with current students. Key findings: Students are prepared to engage with some numerical analysis as long as they perceive that it will help their historical understanding. They were glad to terminate their formal study of maths, lack of relevance being cited as a key consideration. All reinforced the questionnaire finding that history students tend to rate numeracy as having higher value in employability terms than in studying History. Figure 1 Figure 2 Figure 3 4. Numeracy test 1 st - and 3 rd -year students attempted a short numeracy test. Key findings: In general, History undergraduates tend to be over confident about their numerical abilities. Whilst they demonstrate high levels of competency in completing some calculations, such as calculating simple percentages and arithmetic means, they show far less competence in completing others, including calculating ratios and modes. 3 rd -year students have more difficulty with numeracy than 1 st -year students, perhaps reflecting the lack of practice they have had since their schooldays. The main issue is resource constraint & lack of time. There would be massive resistance to compulsory quantitative training from students, and staff are not sufficiently motivated in this area. 5. Tutors views All 90 HE institutions in the UK offering single-honours History courses were contacted and responses were obtained from 49 (54.5%). Key findings: Virtually all HE History tutors who responded thought their programmes should do more to improve students numerical skills. Only around a third of respondents sought to develop numerical skills in a progressive way. Assessment strategies that measure the attainment of numerical skills were noted by fewer than half the respondents. Further details of the project may be obtained at: 1. Aims & methodology This study is investigating numeracy within undergraduate History curricula at the three partner institutions (UCLan, MMU and SHU) and comparing them with those from other UK and overseas institutions to assess to what extent and how effectively students numeracy skills are being developed and practised. The study is eliciting the perspectives of History students and their tutors on key concerns with regard to numeracy through a variety of methodologies including: 1. Student and tutor surveys; 2. Student focus groups; 3. Numeracy tests; 4. Tutor interviews Numeracy elements in history courses could put students off if they had failed with numeracy in the past.


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