|Dirk Tempelaar (the Netherlands)||D.Tempelaar@KE.UNIMAAS.NL|
In this project we followed about 1000 students Economics, International
Economics and International Business in their freshman year at the University
of Maastricht (Netherlands). Those students attend three compulsory courses
Quantitative Methods, each having an important component of statistics
(descriptive statistics and probability theory, inferential statistics
and the regression model, respectively). Our population of students exhibits
a strong heterogeneity with respect to several aspects: attitude towards
and prior knowledge of mathematics and statistics (like in most universities),
but also with regard to nationality (a majority of Dutch students, but
a large minority of about 300 German students and a small minority of
students from all over the world), type of prior education and the mastery
of languages. And as a result of several changes in both the secondary
and tertiary educational system in the Netherlands, the heterogeneity
of the inflow of our faculty will further increase next years. To study
the impact of this heterogeneity on learning introductory statistics,
the development of a model of students' learning of introductory statistics
was chosen as the goal of the project. In order to develop a relational
model (see e.g. Prosser & Trigwell, 1999), several surveys were taken
or data sources used with regard to students characteristics, learning
context, students' perceptions and students' approaches. Most surveys
are based on self-assessment; some are scored by tutors (the dominant
educational system of our faculty is that of problem-based learning, with
tutorial groups of 12-14 students, coached by staff in the role of tutor).
The data collected contains:
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