An exploration of high-achieving students' experiences of learning and being examined in A-Level mathematics

Minards, Barbara Anne (2013). An exploration of high-achieving students' experiences of learning and being examined in A-Level mathematics. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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In this thesis I explore high achieving students’ experiences of learning and being examined in mathematics during their two-year post 16 modular course. I am a practitioner researcher and used a mixed method case study approach with interview data collected from eight students during the learning of each pure mathematics module and subsequent examination. Data was also gathered from their mathematics teachers regarding their perceptions of the students’ experiences. This interview data was triangulated by questionnaire responses from the cohort of mathematics students at the end of each year. In a second strand of analysis, I developed a model from Sierpinska (1994) to analyse the nature of the demand the examination papers taken by these students. The level of challenge was found to be surprisingly consistent. Synthesis of the data showed that these high achieving students do find A-level mathematics difficult, with the difficulties remaining similar throughout their two year course. There was a significant overlap between learning and being examined and the difficulties described by the students reveal external factors such as workload, pace, memory and decision making. There very few references to mathematics as a source of difficulty, instead the majority of descriptions featured novelty.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Social Sciences
School or Department: School of Education
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB1603 Secondary Education. High schools


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