Students' attitudes towards first-year university mathematics: a comparison between Australian and Asian born students

Yang, Shihua (1999) Students' attitudes towards first-year university mathematics: a comparison between Australian and Asian born students. Research Master thesis, Victoria University of Technology.


To improve the quality of mathematics teaching and learning for students born in different countries, it is important to get responses from a student perspective. This study has analysed the attitudinal differences to the learning of mathematics through comparing Australian-born and Asian-born students' attitudes towards their year 12 and university mathematics learning. This has resulted in different responses from students who are studying in different faculties in Victoria University of Technology and who were born in Australia, Europe, or Asia. The study has explored Australian and Asian bom students' attitudes toward year 12 and university mathematics learning and relationships to their cultural effects and educational effects. The findings indicate that attitudinal differences toward mathematics learning are found between students who studied year 12 in Australia and those who studied in Asia. These differences occurred in items on the questionnaire that explored the genesis of students' attitudes into three categories: cognitive category, affective category and learned category. Findings suggest that students' attitudes towards mathematics learning can be influenced through their cultural background and the education system in which they completed their final year high school education. Cultural influences and educational effects appear to mainly affect students' attitudes to mathematical learning ability, learning enthusiasm and learning endeavour. The implications are that it is valuable to identify the way culture affects the learning milieu. It is important to create opportunities for employing and sharing their learning methods and strategies obtained from both high school and university learning. Peer influences, parental interests and students' expectation for future career are essential parts of encouraging and supporting students' learning. Probing and analysing unsuccessful learning experiences could provide very useful information for developing successful learning methods and maintaining positive learning attitudes.

Additional Information

Master of Education

Item type Thesis (Research Master thesis)
Subjects Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > School of Education
Historical > FOR Classification > 1303 Specialist Studies in Education
Historical > FOR Classification > 1799 Other Psychology and Cognitive Sciences
Keywords Mathematical ability, students, Australia, Mathematics, Study, Teaching, Psychological aspects, Attitudes
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