Universidade de Aveiro (PORTUGAL)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN21 Proceedings
Publication year: 2021
Pages: 1794-1799
ISBN: 978-84-09-31267-2
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2021.0418
Conference name: 13th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 5-6 July, 2021
Location: Online Conference
In Portugal, pre-university education is organized into five levels: pre-school (children from 3 to 6 years old); 1st cycle of basic education (four years of schooling for children aged 6 to 10); 2nd cycle of basic education (two years of schooling for children aged 10 to 12); 3rd cycle of basic education (three years of schooling, ages of 12 to 15); and secondary education (three years of schooling, ages 15 to 18).

The initial training of teachers for the first three levels of education is carried out through a single 3-years undergraduate degree, called Basic Education. This training is completed with a professional master's degree where future teachers choose which levels they will teach. Most master's degrees cover two levels of education: pre-school and 1st cycle or 1st and 2nd cycles. This means that most teachers become qualified to teach the 1st cycle, usually known as elementary school. First cycle teachers teach all educational areas, including mathematics. It is, therefore, essential that they finish their degree in Basic Education with a solid background in Mathematics.

Until the academic year 2017-18 there was no mandatory entry requirement in Mathematics to the Basic Education Degree and many students were admitted without having had any Mathematics in secondary education. To ensure a better pre-university training in Mathematics, the Portuguese government imposed an admission exam, as from the academic year 2018-19.

This work aims to assess the impact of the government measure on the training of future teachers in the area of mathematics, through the analysis of the performance of students in the 1st year of the Basic Education Degree, from a Portuguese university, in a mathematics curricular unit of the 1st semester, over the academic years 2017-18 to 2019-20. The statistical study carried out reveals that there were significant improvements in the results of the students, supporting the hypothesis that the government's measure had a positive effect on ensuring a better mathematics training of pre-service teachers.

In our country, there is a gender tendency in the choice of the teaching profession. Most young people who want to become teachers are female. Using the sample of 137 students involved in this study, we found that there is a disproportion between men and women in pre-service teachers. Statistically, we concluded that the percentage of men is less than 16%.

This study contributes to a better understanding of the impact certain measures and policies can have on the quality of Higher Education academic training. This type of approach can be applied to other similar situations, for other programs and other courses, helping, in this way, decision making in Higher Education admission policies, as well as researchers in this field.
Entry requirements for higher education, pre-service teacher education, math skills, student performance, hypothesis testing.