The "Mathematics Problem": A Plymouth Foundation Year Case Study
Research indicates the transition from school mathematics to university-level STEM courses is often problematic, leading to issues with student satisfaction and retention (the “Mathematics Problem”). An increasing number of HEIs are establishing foundation years in an effort to ameliorate this problem. Undergraduate Mathematics cohorts at Plymouth often contain a sizeable number of ex-foundation year students, meaning that efforts to enhance student foundation year experience are vital to student satisfaction, retention and further recruitment. This paper is a report mid-way through a two-year project to examine a partially-flipped learning approach to improve foundation year retention and mathematical knowledge of those progressing to undergraduate study. A preliminary evaluation of this approach is given by using student voice data obtained through focus groups and surveys, and reflections of staff are examined. This paper is an expansion of the work presented at the Foundation Year Network Annual Conference, 2018, the overarching research question being: “Does the Foundation Year provide an enhanced transition to Mathematics degrees compared with the traditional A-level route?”.