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Date of Award

6-2010

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Mathematics and Statistics

Supervisor

Miroslav Lovric

Language

English

Abstract

Students entering university for the first time face many new challenges and obstacles, which often include first year calculus. Many students come to university liking mathematics and hoping to study in a math intensive field, but encounter a roadblock when they stalt taking university-level calculus. Why do these first year mathematics courses cause problems? What challenges do the students face, and what can be done to help them overcome these obstacles and achieve their goals? In this study we set out to try to answer these questions by interviewing 16 students about their experiences taking first year calculus at McMaster University. Here we discuss our findings regarding the students' study habits, problem solving techniques and views of mathematics, as well as a number of other factors which could have caused them problems. We will also discuss how the views of the students are not always in alignment with those of the faculty and staff, as well as possible ways in which the teaching of calculus could be improved at McMaster University.

McMaster University Library

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