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Title: Examining undergraduate student retention in mathematics using network analysis and relative risk
Contributor(s): Woolcott, Geoff (author); Chamberlain, Dan (author); Whannell, Robert  (author)orcid ; Galligan, Linda (author)
Publication Date: 2019
Early Online Version: 2018-09-12
DOI: 10.1080/0020739X.2018.1520932
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Abstract: Higher education faces challenges in retaining students who require a command of numeracy in their chosen field of study. This study applies an innovative combination of relative risk and social network analysis to enrolment data of a single cohort of commencing students from an Australian regional university. Relative risk, often used in epidemiology studies, is used to strategically investigate whether first year mathematics subjects at the university demonstrated a higher risk of attrition when compared to other subjects offered in the first year of study. The network analysis is used to illustrate the connections of those mathematics subjects, identifying service subjects through their multiple connections. The analysis revealed that attrition rates for eight of the nine subjects were within acceptable limits, and this included identified service subjects. The exception highlighted the issue of mathematics competencies in this cohort. This combined analytical technique is proposed as appropriate for use when investigating attrition and retention at faculty and institutional levels, including the determination of levels of intervention and support for any subject.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: International Journal of Mathematical Education in Science and Technology, 50(3), p. 447-463
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Place of Publication: United Kingdom
ISSN: 1464-5211
Fields of Research (FoR) 2008: 130399 Specialist Studies in Education not elsewhere classified
Fields of Research (FoR) 2020: 390303 Higher education
390402 Education assessment and evaluation
Socio-Economic Objective (SEO) 2008: 930199 Learner and Learning not elsewhere classified
Socio-Economic Objective (SEO) 2020: 160199 Learner and learning not elsewhere classified
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
Appears in Collections:Journal Article
School of Education

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