J. Lee, L. Chan

Hong Kong Polytechnic University (HONG KONG)
Study of mathematics and statistics is not compulsory in the curriculum of senior secondary education, college freshmen are always having diverse mathematical backgrounds. Educators in community colleges in Hong Kong face significant challenges in helping students, particularly students with lower level of numeracy, to enhance their quantitative and analytical skills and to be numerically literate. This paper studies freshmen’s’ mathematics and statistics background and their difficulties in learning mathematics and statistics in Hong Kong Community College. A census survey was carried out for freshmen in the College who need to take a compulsory mathematics and/or statistics subjects. Information on students’ mathematics and statistics background are collected. Quantitative data on students’ confidence in learning mathematics and/or statistics are analysed. Detail findings on the data obtained from the survey are discussed. The results show that the perceptions of students studying different programmes are almost diametrically opposite. Art students are aware that the difficulties they are experiencing stem from a lack of fluency in areas of mathematics and/or statistics. Analysis of data collected from students contributes to grow evidence that additional support for students, particularly students with lower level of numeracy is of prime need. Thus, suggestions/recommendations on the additional support will be given so as to help academic staff of the College to explore multiple ways to assist students in strengthen their numeracy. By improving students mathematical ability, analytical skills and numerical sense, their learning effectiveness can be enhanced.