Support for Students in their Transition to the First Year of an Engineering Degree

  • Stephanie Treffert-Thomas Loughborough University
  • Clare Trott Loughborough University
Keywords: Engineering mathematics, STEM degree, inclusivity, resource development


The research presented here is a project to support students entering STEM degrees. The study aims to investigate and address the mathematical difficulties that many students present when making the transition to undergraduate Engineering courses. Data were collected on students’ mathematical background, self-reported preferences in terms of preparing for assessments and outcomes on a mathematics diagnostic test. Both quantitative and qualitative methods were used to analyse the data, expanding the preliminary results reported in Treffert-Thomas, Hunsicker and Trott (2016). One of our findings showed that students without A/AS-level qualifications tended to use additional materials and online materials in particular more often than students with A/ASlevel qualifications. This led us to develop an online, visual, dynamic resource aimed to be inclusive of all students including those with a learning difference.


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Author Biographies

Stephanie Treffert-Thomas, Loughborough University

Stephanie is a lecturer at Loughborough University. She has a Master’s degree in Applied Mathematics and a PhD in Mathematics Education with a focus on the teaching of university mathematics. She has taught mathematics at secondary, tertiary and undergraduate level and currently teaches mathematics to foundation students and first year Engineering students. Her research interests lie within socio-cultural approaches to teaching and learning mathematics beyond compulsory schooling. Email:

Clare Trott, Loughborough University

Clare is a member of the Counselling and Disability Service at Loughborough University and runs the Eureka Centre for Mathematical Confidence. She provides one-to-one mathematics support for students with additional needs. This includes both neurodiverse students and those students who are low in mathematical confidence. She supports students from nearly all the departments on campus, particularly Engineering students. She is an expert in dyscalculia and in the effects of dyslexia in mathematics. Email