Not adding up
UWI officials raise concern about student performance in Mathematics
The Principal of the Cave Hill Campus of the University of the West Indies (UWI), Professor Eudine Barriteau, has described the performance of students in Mathematics in recent years as disturbing.
Pointing out that students entering UWI “have to sit preliminary Maths examinations in order to gain access”, Barriteau said the learning institution “decided to intervene, offering both leadership and collaboration”.
She has pledged the university’s continued fight “to improve the performance of students across a range of disciplines, especially Mathematics.
“We feel obligated to assist in turning around the unsatisfactory performance of our students in Mathematics,” said Barriteau.
She was addressing the opening of a three-day teacher-training workshop put on by the Caribbean Science Foundation and Caribbean Academy of Sciences at the 3Ws Oval this morning.
“Of all students who took the examination in Mathematics in 2010, 41 per cent gained an acceptable pass of either Grades I, II or III. That percentage fell to 35 in 2011 and declined even further to 33 per cent in 2012. Those performances are disturbing,” the Cave Hill principal said.
She pointed out that students who performed poorly at the primary and secondary levels, experienced “acute challenges at the university level”.
As a result, Barriteau said the university had teamed up with the Ministry of Education and launched the UWITube project in order to “fuse mathematical concepts with online animation and multi-media support to make the teaching of Mathematics more attractive and comprehensible to students”.
“In the past three years, the number of students gaining acceptable passes in Mathematics has begun to climb steadily, from 35 per cent in 2013 to 49 per cent last year and 50 per cent this year. We believe the various interventions are contributing,” she reported.
She said the university, led by the Dean of the Faculty of Science and Technology Dr Colin Depradine, had also embarked on a number of workshops for primary school teachers, having “recognized that the challenge with mathematics often begins at the primary school level”.
Barriteau also disclosed that the UWI was “advanced in planning” to host a regional symposium on Mathematics.
During the workshop, which is funded by the US Embassy and Ministry of Education, teachers from the Eastern Caribbean will take part in a number of training and brainstorming sessions over the next three days in an effort to improve their skills in teaching Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics known as the STEM subjects. (MM)