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Evaluation of a questionnaire to measure the impact of mathematics masterclasses at the University of South Wales

Little, Abby, Farnell, Damian J. J. and Jones, Mark 2014. Evaluation of a questionnaire to measure the impact of mathematics masterclasses at the University of South Wales. [Working Paper]. Unpublished.

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Abstract

The Royal Institution began the mathematics masterclasses in order to foster mathematics outreach activities from academia to the wider community. Here we validate a questionnaire that has previously been used to measure the impact of these masterclasses held at the University of South Wales (formerly known as the University of Glamorgan) in 2010 and 2011. We administered questionnaires to 111 key-stage 3 (KS3) school children and to 76 key-stage 4 (KS4) school children recruited from local schools in the south Wales area. Cronbach’s α coefficient was found to be greater than 0.7, thus indicating that the questionnaires were internally consistent. Exploratory factor analysis demonstrated that considerable structure occurred in the responses from both the KS3 and KS4 students. The questionnaire was broken down into five subsections or “subscales” (made up of related questions), namely: enthusiasm and (separately) confidence in mathematics; future plans of the students involving mathematics; course delivery and content; and, perceived usefulness of mathematics in society. Results for the confidence and usefulness subscales were found to be high for both student groups. A reduced level of enthusiasm (adequate only) was seen for the KS3 students, which might have been due to unrealistic expectations for the masterclasses prior to the course in this cohort of very young students or it might have been a characteristic of this particular cohort of students. An overall questionnaire score indicated that the masterclasses were generally well-received by the students, which makes sense because only the most mathematically able students were selected to participate by their schools, although individual items and subscales gave a more nuanced picture. All of these results indicate that the questionnaire was a viable tool that gave sensible results for our cohort of students. Potential refinements to the questionnaire are suggested.

Item Type: Monograph (Working Paper)
Date Type: Completion
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Dentistry
Mathematics
Subjects: L Education > L Education (General)
Q Science > QA Mathematics
Publisher: Unpublished
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 06:42
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/63878

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