Challenging stereotypes of adult learners in mathematics

STACEY, Jennifer (2024). Challenging stereotypes of adult learners in mathematics. Language Issues, 34 (2), 41-51.

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Mathematics courses up to Level 2 (GCSE) are free of charge in the UK, and offered by many providers, including FE colleges. Classes for adults (19+) can include a diverse range of learners in terms of their ages, gender and whether their first language is English or not. In this qualitative, mixed method research a number of participants completed a questionnaire, which included attitude scales for self-efficacy and anxiety, and opportunities for comments (n=21). The questionnaire gathered information about participants' perceptions of course content, classroom dynamics and assessment. When the data was analysed by participants' characteristics, it revealed that younger participants were more anxious and less likely to pass, that males were just as anxious as females, and that those whose first language was not English were more likely to pass, had higher self-efficacy and lower anxiety than first language English speakers. These findings challenge the findings of other research, and thus stereotypical assumptions of learners, which indicates a need for further study of this under-researched group. Recommendations include surveying learners, using 'spiky profiles' to build confidence, encouraging learners to construct word problems, so that they can better engage with de-construction, and finally including techniques to manage examination anxiety.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: The author confirmed that the date of publication was 9th Feb 2024 and not 1st Dec 2023 (as listed on journal website)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Sheffield Institute of Education; Adult learners; GCSE mathematics; Self-efficacy; Anxiety; Examinations; Stereotypes
Page Range: 41-51
SWORD Depositor: Symplectic Elements
Depositing User: Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited: 15 Feb 2024 09:54
Last Modified: 20 Feb 2024 15:45

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