Tag Archives: Maths Help

Working with Student Interns to Enhance our SHU Maths Support Provision

Neil Challis, Jeff Waldock & Sarah Woodall

Parallel session 2, Short paper 2.7

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Short Abstract
Since 1992 Maths Help has provided drop-in Maths support for all students. Recently a process of re-invigoration has begun, supported by a student intern project to gather usage and non-usage data, and generate ideas on how to enhance provision. This talk will generate discussion which will contribute to that process.

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Detailed Outline
Since 1992 the SHU Maths Help service has provided drop-in support in mathematics and statistics, to supplement support within course modules for students who, although generally well qualified for HE, are inadequately prepared mathematically. Such students may be at risk of failure to fully achieve, or even to satisfactorily progress. The service receives, on average, over 1200 visits per year.

The need for the service is well established. In 2011, the Advisory Council on Mathematics Education estimated that “of those entering higher education in any year, some 330,000 would benefit from recent experience of studying some mathematics (including statistics) at a level beyond GCSE, but fewer than 125,000 have done so.”

In summer 2014 two student interns worked with Mathematics staff to gather evidence and identify opportunities for enhancing Maths Help. The resulting evidence is being used to plan a revised, improved and extended service. Key outcomes are:

Sustainability:
• Funding for Maths Help needs to be placed on a firm footing.
• Maths Help should be more closely coordinated with other forms of academic support.

Expansion:
• We should exploit the potential that exists for wider use of the service, by students across all four faculties
• We should therefore establish closer links between Maths Help staff and academic staff across other disciplines.
• Opportunities for better publicity for the service should be investigated.
• In particular, Maths Help should be highlighted in the SHU prospectus, at open days and in the SHU OFFA Access Agreement.

Operation:
• The opportunity exists for final year Mathematics students to assist Maths Help tutors.
• We will consider additional modes of support e.g. targeted sessions, appointments, virtual support, to complement the current face-to-face drop-in support which students have stated to be important in improving confidence.

This session will consist of a short talk followed by open discussion of these and related points.