Exploring the school-university mathematics skills gap for Economic Sciences
Keywords:Mathematics pre-knowledge, Economic sciences, Revised Bloom's Taxonomy for Mathematics, Financial mathematics
The training of highly skilled persons for the areas of Economics and Commerce requires that degree students upon entry need certain knowledge and skills in mathematics including aspects of statistics. The context is distance education and entry students seem unable to cope with the requirements of the mathematics-based topics that they need to study at the first year of tertiary education. It resulted in university staff speculating about a gap in pre-knowledge and skills. This study aims to investigate this phenomenon, starting with content and Revised Bloom’s Taxonomy analyses of final year school examination papers in mathematics, comparing it with similar analyses of first-year mathematics-based module examinations in the Economic sciences. Students that passed mathematics at school are supposed to have had adequate preparation for the first level Bachelor of Commerce. Coping with routine procedures mainly upon exit from secondary education does not signal well for the subsequent training of economists and commerce students. The situation seemingly does not improve at tertiary level where there is a further emphasis on routine procedures compared to higher order thinking skills.
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