Student conceptions of learning mathematics and their approaches

Priscilla Murphy

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting abstract


My core research focus will be to examine student conception of mathematics and approaches to learning mathematics. Several studies suggested that majority of tertiary mathematics students adopt a component /fragmented conception of mathematics, which are associated with a technique orientation (Wood, Petocz, & Reid, 2012) / surface approach to learning (Crawford, Gordon, Nicholas, & Prosser, 1998; Liston & O'Donoghue, 2009). In another New Zealand study of the transition from secondary to tertiary education, tertiary students were mostly driven by the extrinsic value of mathematics in terms of future career choices, employment and studies (Thomas et al., 2010). Therefore, it is within the parameters of previous studies that I will seek the views of engineering students and employer in terms of mathematics application in future studies and at the workplace in New Zealand. The secondary aim of the project will identify the relationships between student conception and their approaches to learning mathematics, self-concept and achievement. Some studies showed that students develop a range of negative (i.e., anxiety) and positive sources (i.e., mastery experiences) of self-efficacy (Hall & Ponton, 2005; Hutchison, Follman, Sumpter, & Bodner, 2006). My study will use mixed research methods such as, Short Form of Conceptions of Mathematics Survey (Wood, et al., 2012), Study Process questionnaire (Biggs, Kember, & Leung, 2001), Mathematics self-efficacy scale (Betz & Hackett, 1983) and interviews. By implication, these results could potentially show evidence of trends that point to the influence of teaching and learning service mathematics in engineering and the employability of engineering students.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)58
Number of pages1
JournalExpo 2012 Higher Degree Research : book of abstracts
Publication statusPublished - 2012
EventHigher Degree Research Expo (8th : 2012) - Sydney
Duration: 12 Nov 201213 Nov 2012


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