#### Session Type

Presentation

#### Start Date

8-7-2011 10:30 AM

#### Keywords

student perceptions, mathematics, attitude survey

#### Primary Threads

Evaluation of Learning

#### Abstract

As in other subjects, student perceptions of and attitudes towards mathematics play a role in their motivation and approaches to learning. This is of special concern in mathematics as so many students take terminal math courses at the post-secondary level as part of other programs. Ultimately, we are interested in how these attitudes influence further math course choices and student performance in the courses they do take, as well as instructional choices that can promote more expert-like attitudes.

This academic year, our research group adapted an existing survey for Physics (the CLASS developed at U. Colorado), a measure of student orientation towards "expert" attitudes about the subject, which including perceptions of math as a field and (self-perceived) dispositions in math problem solving. We surveyed UBC students at the beginning and end of a range of early Math courses (primarily first-year calculus courses), as well as a variety of "experts" in our department (faculty, graduate students and post-docs). This has allowed us to assess student attitudes and perceptions, and to track how they shift over time, relative to an expert response. Similar adaptations of this survey exist for other science disciplines (see http://www.colorado.edu/sei/class/).

In this presentation, I will discuss some existing tools in math and other disciplines for assessing student attitudes, review the development process we are following, and show highlights from our preliminary results.

Measurement of Student Perceptions and Attitudes in Mathematics

As in other subjects, student perceptions of and attitudes towards mathematics play a role in their motivation and approaches to learning. This is of special concern in mathematics as so many students take terminal math courses at the post-secondary level as part of other programs. Ultimately, we are interested in how these attitudes influence further math course choices and student performance in the courses they do take, as well as instructional choices that can promote more expert-like attitudes.

This academic year, our research group adapted an existing survey for Physics (the CLASS developed at U. Colorado), a measure of student orientation towards "expert" attitudes about the subject, which including perceptions of math as a field and (self-perceived) dispositions in math problem solving. We surveyed UBC students at the beginning and end of a range of early Math courses (primarily first-year calculus courses), as well as a variety of "experts" in our department (faculty, graduate students and post-docs). This has allowed us to assess student attitudes and perceptions, and to track how they shift over time, relative to an expert response. Similar adaptations of this survey exist for other science disciplines (see http://www.colorado.edu/sei/class/).

In this presentation, I will discuss some existing tools in math and other disciplines for assessing student attitudes, review the development process we are following, and show highlights from our preliminary results.