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Title: Examining the Effect of Position in the Program on Performance in Discrete Mathematics
Authors: Loose, Kenneth D.
Amillo, June
Keywords: Computer Science
Issue Date: 27-Sep-2005
Abstract: The discrete mathematics component common to computer science programs is often a source of difficulty for students. Two common approaches have been to integrate the mathematics with computer science in a computer science course or requiring students to complete a discrete mathematics course from the mathematics department. Different approaches to instruction have been attempted with varying success. This paper reports the result of an investigation of student performance in discrete mathematics on the basis of the position in the program at which the student first attempts the discrete mathematics course offered by the mathematics department. The major sample includes 739 students over an 8-year period who first attempted the mathematics course in their first year, second year, or third year of the program. The analysis of the data indicated that there was a significantly better performance record for students who first attempted the course in their second or subsequent year. Analysis including 52 students in Spain found no significant difference between performance of first-year students in that country as compared to Canada. The conclusion reached is that position in the program is important and the increased maturity of students in second and subsequent years would indicate that the discrete mathematics course might best be placed in the second year rather than in the first.
Appears in Collections:Loose, Kenneth

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