This research examines the relationship between the mathematical background of approximately 300 first year B. Ed (primary) students entering the education faculty and their achievement in the first year mathematics foundations unit at Queensland University of Technology (QUT). Students' mathematical backgrounds were divided into five categories according to level of achievement at high school ranging from success at advanced level mathematics to having done no recent mathematics at all. The performance of each group was compared for overall achievement in the Mathematics Foundations unit. In addition the results in the Foundations Unit were correlated with the results in the Mathematics Curriculum unit and two other core units taken by all students. The paper draws some implications regarding the selection of students for the course and their mathematical needs
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