1 Coimbra Institute of Engineering (PORTUGAL)
2 University of Aveiro (CIDTFF) (PORTUGAL)
3 University of Trás-of-Montes e Alto Douro (CIDTFF) (PORTUGAL)
4 Polytechnic Institute of Viseu (CMA) (PORTUGAL)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2020 Proceedings
Publication year: 2020
Pages: 7214-7219
ISBN: 978-84-09-24232-0
ISSN: 2340-1095
doi: 10.21125/iceri.2020.1543
Conference name: 13th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 9-10 November, 2020
Location: Online Conference
The assessment of learning has changed over time, not only due to the implementation of the Bologna Process, but also due to the development of new assessment methods. Students entering higher education enter various forms of access, either by national exam or by local exam. These students also arrive with several gaps in the mathematics level and it is necessary to acknowledge where they have these gaps.

Mathematics is an essential area of the degree program in Informatic Engineering. With the wide variation in mathematical knowledge, along with the increase in the number of students at classes, it leads to attempts to gauge students' knowledge upon entering higher education. This study investigates the use of a diagnostic test (Carr, Fidalgo, Bigotte de Almeida, Branco, Santos, Murphy, & Ní Fhloinn, 2015), to incoming first-year students, to understand where students have the most difficulties. The diagnostic test was done in the beginning of the first semester of the academic year 2019/2020, with questions regarding algebra, analysis-calculus and geometry-trigonometric. The article describes an investigation into what can be learned about students' knowledge, from the initial assessment and information about their previous qualifications, and how that information can be used to design effective teaching and learning strategies. We intend to know if there were significant differences between the four institutions, and if there are, at what content? In which content have the students more difficulty?

To verify mathematical knowledges of incoming new students, a diagnostic test was given to the first year 266 students of Informatic Engineering course, in two public Universities (Aveiro and Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro) and two public Polytechnic Institutes (Coimbra and Viseu). The adopted methodology consisted of a quantitative approach and subsequent statistical analysis with Excel and IBM Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) version 26. Although the goal of the research was focused on highlighting quantitative methods, the need for a qualitative approach was identified, as this enabled the detailed understanding of the different perceptions of the courses in the different institutions. Of the total of 1478 students enrolled in the four institutions, 374 responded to the diagnostic test, but only 266 students were considered for being enrolled in the course for the first time.

Conclusions were drawn from the math diagnostic test carried out in four public Higher Education. Beyond differences between institutions there were found lacks in students' core mathematics revealed by this test, namely in the area of geometry-trigonometry and analysis-calculus.

[1] Carr, M., Fidalgo, C., Bigotte de Almeida, M. E., Branco, J. R., Santos, V., Murphy, E., & Ní Fhloinn, E. (2015). Mathematics diagnostic testing in engineering: an international comparison between Ireland and Portugal. European Journal of Engineering Education, 40(5), 546-556.
Mathematic, Assessment, Higher Education, Diagnostic Test.