Mark Prendergast, Fiona Faulkner, Cormac Breen, Michael Carr; Mind the gap: an initial analysis of the transition of a second level curriculum reform to higher education. Teaching Mathematics Applications 2017 hrw024. doi: 10.1093/teamat/hrw024
This article details an initial analysis of the transition of a second level curriculum reform to higher education in Ireland. The reform entitled ‘Project Maths’ involved changes to what second level students learn in mathematics, how they learn it, and how they are assessed. Changes were rolled out nationally on a phased basis in September 2010. Students who were taught and assessed through the new curriculum first entered third level education in September 2012. It is important that third level mathematics lecturers are aware of the changes to the curriculum since certain topics such as vectors and matrices are no longer taught at second level. Hence, third level courses may need to be adapted accordingly. This study investigates mathematics lecturers’ awareness of Project Maths and whether they have made any adaptions to their course content, teaching and assessment approaches as a result of the new curriculum being introduced. The findings, from a return rate of 23% of eligible respondents, show that although many lecturers are mindful of the concept of Project Maths, they are not aware of the changes in full and how it affects their own course content, teaching and assessment strategies. Accordingly, the gap between second and third level education remains. This study highlights that more needs to be done to ensure there is coherent and uniform approaches to the teaching, learning and assessment of mathematics in the transition from second to third level education.