THE ATTITUDES TOWARDS MATHEMATICS: EVALUATION OF THE PERCEPTIONS OF THE STUDENTS OF POSTGRADUATE PROGRAMS IN ADMINISTRATION OF THE INSTITUTO POLITÉCNICO NACIONAL
The objective of this research was to evaluate the attitudes towards mathematics of the students of postgraduate courses in administration at the Instituto Politécnico Nacional. The relevance of the study was to determine attitudes as an important element in the students because they are part of their value system and are related to their school use. For the methodology, a type of study with a quantitative approach with a cross-sectional design with exploratory-descriptive scope was considered. The instrument used to obtain the field information was a questionnaire based on a Likert scale organized by the dimensions: Liking of mathematics, perception of difficulty, perceived utility, anxiety towards mathematics and mathematical self-concept. Each item was valued using a frequency scale of five points. Regarding the values related to the internal consistency of the instrument, the Cronbach's alpha coefficient was calculated, which was 0.827, and was therefore considered reliable. The sample consisted of 126 participants from four postgraduate programs in administration: Master's Degree in Business Administration for Sustainability (33%); Master's Degree in Administration (30%); Master's Degree in Tourism Administration and Innovation (22%) and Master's Degree in Administration and Public Policy (15%). To organize the information, descriptive and inferential statistics were used to carry out the corresponding analysis. The sample presented the following distribution with respect to the gender: 71% corresponded to women and the remaining 29% to men. As for the age, an average of 27.4 years was found. It was also found that 87% of the participants experienced the greatest difficulties in learning this subject at the preparatory and secondary levels. The major findings for the liking factor were that 74% of postgraduate students expressed a negative attitude because they considered mathematics to be unpleasant, uninspiring and barely amusing. Regarding the perception of difficulty, 86% of the students assessed that this subject is one of the most difficult ones that they have faced in their school education. For the utility factor with respect to mathematics, 88% of the students recognized the importance of the techniques and methods of this subject in the workplace where they have faced situations that require the use of this subject. Likewise, 90% considered it relevant in their postgraduate training. For the anxiety factor, a negative attitude was found, that is, for 91% of the students, mathematics generates nervousness which has caused them to have performed unsatisfactory during their formative journey. As far as the mathematical self-concept dimension is concerned, 94% of the students determined to possess a negative image that generates a distrust of situations involving its use for decision making in both personal and professional life. Also, differences were found in significant terms in relation to gender (t = 6,154) where men had a higher negative attitude compared to women; in addition, another difference was found in the work experience of the students (F = 11,31) and there were no significant differences between the postgraduate programs (F = 2,15). The main conclusion was that postgraduate students present a negative attitude towards mathematics, so it is recommended to design and establish didactic strategies that lead to generate a change in the system of attitudes.