A CRITICAL ANALYSIS OF THE MATHEMATICAL CURRICULUM BELONGING TO THE DEGREES IN SOCIAL SCIENCES
1 Universidad de Alcalá (SPAIN)
2 Universidad de Castilla La Mancha (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN11 Proceedings
Publication year: 2011
Conference name: 3rd International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 4-6 July, 2011
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Abstract:The gradual introduction of the new university degrees in the Spanish education system has led, according to the goals of the Bologna Process, to a decided wager in favour of practical applications of the subjects. In the areas of social sciences and law, where a theoretical approach has traditionally been predominant, initial experience suggests that students welcome this new practical view but have serious difficulties putting it into practice. This feature seems to be especially prominent in quantitative subjects, where it is not inmediately apparent how to apply the concepts learned to the solution of specific problems.
Our goal in this paper is to analise problems that both students and lecturers detect in the learning process of the diverse quantitative subjects that make up the degree in Business Administration (Administración y Dirección de Empresas). These difficulties may be due to, for instance, a lack of basic mathematical knowledge on the part of the students, their inability to make effective use of the mathematical concepts that they know, or the unsuitability of the curricula to the actual tools and applications that students will need in succesive years. The analysis is done from the double viewpoint of students and teachers, so that it becomes possible to determine the extent to which their perceptions of the difficulties coincide.
The hypotheses to be checked are as follows. 1st hypothesis: students have problems in the quantitative subjects of their first year because of the lack of practical applications of the mathematical concepts they are taught; 2nd hypothesis: some subjects still have an excess of theoretical contents with almost no relevance when dealing with specific problems; 3rd hypothesis: there exist differences between the students' and lecturers' perception of where the main difficulties in the subjects lie.
The sample used for our study comes from the students and lecturers of the degree in ADE of the Universities of Alcalá de Henares (Madrid) and Castilla la Mancha (campus of Ciudad Real), totalling 400 first year students and 33 lecturers in the areas of mathematics, economics, and statistics.
Answers will be obtained through two different questionnaires, one for students and another for lecturers. In the former case data will be collected in person, whereas in the latter an electronic form will be preferred. This information will then be subjected to statistical treatment, via descriptive and multivariate analysis (mean constrast and factor analysis). These will allow us to ascertain whether the problems detected are common to both groups (students and lecturers) involved and at the same time it will allow us to decide whether they are local or global phenomena.
Bearing in mind the results of the study, we will consider several measures and possible solutions to be taken into account for future revisions of Degree studies with an aim to perfect teaching and pedagogy and which can also be considered by the competent authorities or governing bodies of similar faculties.
Keywords: Mathematical, social sciences, learning process.