Conference Proceedings

First year university students’ difficulties with mathematical symbols: the lecturer/tutor perspective

R PIERCE, M Begg, A Downton (ed.), S Livy (ed.), J Hall (ed.)

The mMathematics Education Research Group of Australiasia Inc. | Published : 2017


School and university mathematics: do they speak the same language? Our university mathematics students come from amongst the successful school mathematics students but what difficulties with symbols do their lecturers and tutors observe? This paper reports on data from interviews with twenty-one first year lecturers and tutors from four universities. Key emerging themes focused on mathematical communication: the importance of comprehending mathematical symbols and of composing a mathematical narrative consisting of both explanatory words as well as symbols.


Awarded by Australian Research Council