Examining undergraduate student retention in mathematics using network analysis and relative risk

Woolcott, Geoff and Chamberlain, Dan and Whannell, Robert and Galligan, Linda ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8156-8690 (2019) Examining undergraduate student retention in mathematics using network analysis and relative risk. International Journal of Mathematical Education in Science and Technology, 50 (3). pp. 447-463. ISSN 0020-739X

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Abstract

Higher education faces challenges in retaining students who require a command of numeracy in their chosen field of study. This study applies an innovative combination of relative risk and social network analysis to enrolment data of a single cohort of commencing students from an Australian regional university. Relative risk, often used in epidemiology studies, is used to strategically investigate whether first year mathematics subjects at the university demonstrated a higher risk of attrition when compared to other subjects offered in the first year of study. The network analysis is used to illustrate the connections of those mathematics subjects, identifying service subjects through their multiple connections. The analysis revealed that attrition rates for eight of the nine subjects were within acceptable limits, and this
included identified service subjects. The exception highlighted the issue of mathematics competencies in this cohort. This combined analytical technique is proposed as appropriate for use when investigating attrition and
retention at faculty and institutional levels, including the determination of levels of intervention and support for any subject.


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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Agricultural, Computational and Environmental Sciences (1 Jul 2013 - 5 Sep 2019)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Agricultural, Computational and Environmental Sciences (1 Jul 2013 - 5 Sep 2019)
Date Deposited: 16 Jan 2020 03:02
Last Modified: 28 Jan 2020 23:53
Uncontrolled Keywords: Undergraduate mathematics, attrition, retention, service subjects, network analysis, relative risk
Fields of Research (2008): 13 Education > 1301 Education Systems > 130103 Higher Education
Fields of Research (2020): 39 EDUCATION > 3903 Education systems > 390303 Higher education
Socio-Economic Objectives (2008): C Society > 93 Education and Training > 9304 School/Institution > 930401 Management and Leadership of Schools/Institutions
Identification Number or DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/0020739X.2018.1520932
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/36538

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