PROBLEM SOLVING SKILLS IN DIFFERENTIAL CALCULUS: A SEFAKO MAKGATHO HEALTH SCIENCES UNIVERSITY FIRST-YEAR STUDENTS' CASE
Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University (SOUTH AFRICA)
About this paper:
Conference name: 9th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 14-16 November, 2016
Location: Seville, Spain
Abstract:Mathematics (math) is a vital subject. In the Sefako Makgatho Health Science University (SMU) in South Africa Mathematics is an entry requirement in many science programmes, and a compulsory subject at first year level for many other qualifications on campus. The number of students registering for first year Mathematics(math) has increased in recent years while the overall performance of incoming students appears to decline. This paper focuses on problems experienced by students enrolled in first year university Mathematics with particular emphasis on Differential Calculus(D.F). At higher levels of other subjects, differential calculus (D.F) becomes a vital blockade in studying some concepts in other subjects, such as Statistics, Physics, Chemistry etc. A study was undertaken to determine how performance in DF at first year differed from other sections. This paper presents the findings of that study. The results showed that the teaching of DF was adequate from lecturer level, but student support beyond this was inadequate. Also, the performance in DF was higher than in other subjects, but still very low. It also emerged that while DF teaching needed an improvement, other sections needed a more intense improvement. The study proposed an improvement in DF, as well as in other topics mainly at the entry level to serve both as a solid foundation and encouragement in the math subject.
Keywords: Performance, findings, improvement.