Tackling Transition in Mathematics, Statistics and Operational Research

Swansea University Mathematics Department and Further Maths Support programme Wales hosted the HEA Stem (MSOR): Tackling Transition in Mathematics, Statistics and Operational Research workshop held on Tuesday 25th March 2014.

The successful event saw 21 delegates from Schools, Colleges and Higher Education Institutions from across Mid and South Wales working together to consider the problems and issues relating to the transition for students into Higher Education and to come up with innovative ideas that would help manage and improve the transition. The evening was introduced and led by Dr Mary McAlinden, Discipline Lead for Mathematics, Statistics & Operational Research for The Higher Education Academy (HEA), a national and independent organisation, funded by the four UK HE funding bodies and by subscriptions and grants.  Dr McAlinden outlined HEA’s mission to use expertise and resources to support the higher education community in developing and implementing strategies that help students better cope with the challenges of their Higher Education Maths courses. 

The issues the group identified included a lack of knowledge in some key areas of Mathematics and difficulties of adapting to new learning and teaching styles by degree students.  Suggested actions included universities developing closer links with schools/colleges, increase communication between FE and HE, and encouraging more University staff and students to visit schools and colleges to deliver interactive information sessions.  The workshop highlighted the need to increase the numbers taking Further Maths as an A-level to help increase the breadth of subject knowledge, and suggested that schools and colleges help prepare their students for University by equipping them with a knowledge of and an ability to adapt to different learning styles.

The discussions were uniformly interesting and positive, and it was great to see people from both sectors of the education system in Wales sharing common goals and demonstrating a commitment to improve the experience for students in the Mathematics discipline.