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Discussion group 8:

The role of mathematics in access to tertiary education

Room B105 and B106

Mathematics is one of the “critical filters” regulating entry into tertiary education. At its simplest level, what mathematics courses are students required to complete in order to graduate from high school and to qualify for entry to tertiary education? Does mathematics play an even more decisive role in determining access to tertiary courses when formal mathematical requirements are set for entry to certain courses, or where substantial mathematical knowledge is assumed in areas such as bio-informatics, finance, econometrics and modelling? Also with an expectation that a growing young people will continue their education after high school in courses of further education and training, as distinct from university courses, how does mathematics affect access to these programs? What bridging and service courses are needed?


Organizing team composition

Main questions

Call for contributions

Papers and discussion documents

Team chairs:
Sang Gu Lee (Korea) and
Max Stephens (Australia)

Team members:

Kiril Bankov (Bulgaria)

Agustín Grijalva (Mexico)

Carmen.Sessa (Argentina)

Main questions

The following issues will be tackled (other questions may be identified by intending participants):

* What evidence is there from various national contexts that mathematics continues to operate as a “critical filter” for entry to undergraduate university courses?

* In those undergraduate courses which do require substantial mathematics, what kind of mathematics is required from those entering and what kind of mathematics will be taught?

* What implications does an answer to the above question have for the content of senior high school mathematics courses?

* Is there a tension between the expectation that mathematical studies in high school should prepare students for tertiary education and role of mathematics in the general high school curriculum?

* Where specific mathematics courses are taught within undergraduate courses, what implications does this have for university departments of mathematics?

* Are bridging and service courses the answer? Is the role of bridging and service courses different from the perspective of training and further education, as distinct from undergraduate university courses?

Call for contributions

The organisers of DG8 welcome submissions of contributions related to the issues addressed above, or to other questions relevant to the focus. Those making submissions should include specific references to their own national contexts.

Abstracts (one page maximum) should be sent by January 10 to both of the chairs:

Max Stephens <> or Sang-Gu Lee <>.

Information about acceptance will be sent to the authors by January 31st who will then be asked for a longer version of their text. This extended version will need to be sent by March 1st (maximum 6 pages).

All authors will be expected to participate to DG8 sessions and discuss their contributions and perspectives with other participants.

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