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Supportive frameworks that increase mathematical knowledge and confidence in students enrolled in bridging mathematics courses
Internationally, universities are changing the focus of their undergraduate degrees, increasing enrolments and broadening participation. As a result, non-traditional students who would once have been excluded from university studies are now being accepted. As expected, these changes are not without consequences, and one is left asking “How do we adequately prepare non-traditional students academically and increase their confidence enabling them to cope with undergraduate study?” Preparatory mathematics courses that follow adult learning principles can both provide content knowledge and increase confidence. A study conducted by CQUniversity Australia (CQU) examining students’ mathematical confidence prior to and after completing at least one Transition Mathematics course, found students reported a reduction in their fear of mathematics. Courses with supportive frameworks, containing formative assessment and prompt feedback, are essential for ensuring students are engaged and understand the course content. Course scaffolding and support also increase student confidence in mathematics which in turn benefits academic progression.