# Mathematics Support Centres resources

### Guides (5)

evaluation of mathematics support centres - a review of the literature (sigma)

This sigma guide reviews published literature concerning the evaluation of mathematics support centres. There is a growing body of research studies, which have
looked into a number of areas such as: the establishment
of a MSC; the usage of MSCs and mechanisms for recording
usage data; feedback from students and staff and ways
to collect this; effects on achievement, pass rates and
retention rates; and the prevalence of MSCs in the higher
education sector. More recently researchers have begun
to examine the effects of MSCs on undergraduatesâ??
mathematics learning experiences and mathematical
confidence, and to address issues concerning students who
are â??at riskâ?? or underachieving and not engaging with the
facilities offered by their MSC.
This report reviews and synthesises all the available
published research evidence so that informed decisions can
be made about the value of mathematics support activity and
the targeting of future funding.

Gathering student feedback on mathematics and statistics support provision - A guide for those running mathematics support centres (sigma)

This sigma guide has been written for those who are responsible for managing mathematics support centres. It is the culmination of a project involving staff from many support centres around the UK. Authored by Dr David Green, Mathematics Education Centre, Loughborough University, it contains a wealth of advice and information for those who want to gather student feedback, and contains examples of forms which are currently being used.

Good Practice in the Provision of Mathematics Support Centres (LTSN)

A second edition of the popular LTSN funded guide for those interested in the establishment and development of Mathematics Support Centres in universities and other institutes of higher education. Authors: Lawson, D., Croft, A.C. and Halpin, M.

mathematics learning support in UK higher education - the extent of provision in 2012 (sigma)

This sigma guide reports on a survey conducted in 2012 to deteremine the number of UK universities that offer some form of mathemathics support and the nature of their provision.

Setting up a maths support centre (HE STEM)

The focus of this HE STEM guide is to provide mathematics support to students across all STEM disciplines to ease the transition from School/College in to University. This is a key factor influencing drop-out from STEM degrees and a targeted provision for mathematics support is a proven way to counter this. It includes cases studies from the Universities of Coventry, Portsmouth, York. Lincoln and Kent and articulates the experiences of the two Sigma Directors Professor Duncan Lawson, Coventry University and Professor Tony Croft, Loughborough University joint winners of the 2011 Times Higher Award for Outstanding Support for Students

### Research Papers (6)

A Framework for Discussing the Location of the Maths Drop-in Workshop

A framework for discussing the location of a mathematics drop-in workshop by Ian beverage. Mathematics Support Newsletter, Issue 2, 1994.

Evaluation of mathematics support centres: a literature review

Janette Matthews, Tony Croft, Duncan Lawson, and Dagmar Waller. (2013) Evaluation of mathematics support centres: a literature review. Teaching Mathematics Applications. first published online September 3, 2013 doi:10.1093/teamat/hrt013
Mathematics Support Centres (MSCs) have been established at universities in the UK and a number of other countries, of which colleagues from Australia and Ireland have been the most prolific in publishing about their work. Their main functions are to address issues surrounding the transition to university mathematics and to support students’ learning of mathematics and statistics across the wide variety of undergraduate courses.
There is a growing body of research examining the operation and impact of MSCs. This article will review and synthesize available published research evidence so that informed decisions can be made about the value of mathematics support activity and the targeting of future funding. Evidence will be shown of the evaluation of MSCs in each of the following areas:
the collection of data and the challenges that are presented in both quantitative and qualitative studies;
analysis demonstrating MSC usage and activity;
analysis showing the impact of MSCs on students, staff and the institution.
The article will conclude by identifying areas where further research would be helpful.

Offering Training to Postgraduates who Tutor in Mathematics Support Centres

Tony Croft, Shazia Ahmed, Verity Aiken, Leslie Fletcher, Michael Grove, Andrew Mead, Chetna Patel, and Robert Wilson: (2013) Offering Training to Postgraduates who Tutor in Mathematics Support Centres. MSOR Connections 13(1), 3-7. DOI: 10.11120/msor.2013.13010003
This report summarises the deliberations which took place during a workshop held to discuss issues to consider when recruiting and training postgraduates to work in mathematics support centres. It distils the current wisdom of a group of mathematics support professionals with experience of managing and tutoring in mathematics support centres. There exists an active national network (the sigma network) for those involved in university mathematics and statistics support; this report concludes by identifying how members of the higher education community may participate in this network.

Summer internships in sigma-sw

Matthew Taylor, Ollie Bond, Callum Anderson and Andrew Kennedy. (2012) Summer internships in sigma-sw. MSOR Connections 12(1), 23-27. DOI: 10.11120/msor.2012.12010023
We report on the experience of Loughborough Universityâ??s Eureka Centre for Mathematical Confidence in establishing a small pilot project to provide one-to-one mathematics support for neurodiverse students who attend other local universities and where no such provision is available. We outline the background to the scheme and report on the three students involved.

The extent of mathematics learning support in UK higher education—the 2012 survey

Glynis Perkin, Tony Croft and Duncan Lawson. (2013) The extent of mathematics learning support in UK higher education—the 2012 survey. Teaching Mathematics Applications, 32 (4), 165-172 doi:10.1093/teamat/hrt014.
Many higher education institutions have introduced some kind of mathematics learning support provision in response to the well-documented ‘mathematics problem’. In 2001 and 2004 two independent studies were undertaken to assess the number of universities offering mathematics learning support to students in addition to that provided through lectures, tutorials and the personal tutorial system. The results of these surveys showed a growth in the number of institutions providing support from 46 to 66. In this article we report on a survey carried out in 2012 to establish the current position regarding the provision of mathematics learning support in UK universities. In addition to determining the number of institutions providing mathematics learning support—there has been a further rise to 88—the article analyses the distribution of mathematics learning support by university mission group and by the type of support provided. The main findings are that the extent of mathematics learning support provision is largely independent of mission group and the dominant provision is drop-in support.

The redesign of a quantitative literacy class: student responses to a labbased format

Nicole Scherger (2013). The redesign of a quantitative literacy class: student responses to a lab based
format, Teaching Mathematics and its Applications 2013 32(4), 206-213 doi:
10.1093/teamat/hrt003.
The purpose of this study was to observe students’ retention, success and attitudes towards mathematics in a community college quantitative literacy course, taught in a lab-based format. The redesigned course implemented the daily use of Microsoft Excel in the classroom demonstrations, group activities and individual assignments, and utilized data from many fields of study. Results showed statistically significant growth in attitudes towards real-world application problems, the use of computers in mathematics, and the consideration of taking additional mathematics courses. There was also marginally significant growth in students’ attitudes towards the relevance and utility of mathematics. Higher retention and success rates in the redesigned course were also observed, although those rates were not found to be statistically significant.

### Staff Resources (1)

And the winner is... mathematics support

At the Times Higher Awards ceremony
on 24th November 2011, it was
announced that Loughborough and
Coventry Universities had won the
award for Outstanding Support for
Students, in recognition of the work
of sigma, Centre for Excellence in
University-wide mathematics and
statistics support.
Whilst sigma at Coventry and Loughborough Universities received the award, the real winner was mathematics and statistics support across the country. In this booklet,
we outline how sigma's work has contributed to the growing recognition of the importance of mathematics and statistics support and to the development of a national and international community of practitioners. Authors : Ciaran Mac an Bhaird and Duncan Lawson