Measuring the mathematical problem solving and procedural skills of students in an Irish higher education institution – A pilot study

Fiona Faulkner 1 * , Cormac Breen 2, Mark Prendergast 3, Michael Carr 4
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1 School of Hospitality, Tourism and Management, Technological University Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
2 School of Mathematical Sciences, Technological University Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
3 School of Education, University College Cork, Ireland
4 School of Multidisciplinary Technologies, Technological University Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
* Corresponding Author
EUR J SCI MATH ED, Volume 8, Issue 2, pp. 92-106.
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In 2010 the Irish second level mathematics curriculum underwent a period of significant change when a new mathematics curriculum was introduced. Some preliminary research has been carried out into the impact, if any, that this mathematics curriculum is having on students mathematics performance which have suggested that students’ procedural skills are declining year on year however their problem solving skills may have improved (Treacy and Faulkner 2015). Additional research in this area also highlighted that students willingness to engage in problem solving activities may have improved (Prendergast et al 2017). However preliminary analysis on the impact of the reformed mathematics curriculum, if any, on students’ performance in higher education noted that further research was needed in this area to definitively establish what is happening. This research therefore aims to explicitly determine whether the procedural and problem solving skills of beginning undergraduates are changing over time as a result of the reformed mathematics curriculum introduced in second level education. A paper based diagnostic test designed and developed is used in an attempt to determine this. This paper will detail the piloting of this diagnostic test with a group of higher education students in the Irish context.


Faulkner, F., Breen, C., Prendergast, M., & Carr, M. (2020). Measuring the mathematical problem solving and procedural skills of students in an Irish higher education institution – A pilot study. European Journal of Science and Mathematics Education, 8(2), 92-106.


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