Assessing numeracy and other mathematical skills in psychology students as a basis for learning statisticsThis project is now complete.
Recently, Mulhern & Wylie (in press) argued for the need to obtain definitive empirical evidence about the standards of numeracy and mathematical reasoning among UK psychology undergraduates, particularly in respect of those mathematical concepts that might be considered a necessary basis for learning about statistics and research methods. In our study of Northern Ireland psychology undergraduates, we investigated various components of numeracy and mathematical reasoning relevant to the teaching of statistics in psychology. We found evidence of poor levels of skill among students entering psychology in 2002, and males were found to perform significantly better than females on a majority of components. This latter finding may be considered particularly worrying in view of the substantial predominance of female psychology undergraduates throughout the UK (Radford & Holdstock, 1996).
While these results are interesting in their own right, there is clearly a need to collect further data to reveal the national picture. The proposed project seeks to extend our recent research to include a representative sample of UK university psychology departments.
The final report
for this project. An Instructor Pack based on this work is available from the Higher Education Academy Psychology Network.Funding:
October 2003Contact: Dr Gerry Mulhern
, School of Psychology ,
Queen's University Belfast,
David Keir Building,