“Improving engagement and achievement in science numeracy”

A. Janet Horrocks, Louise Milne

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Students starting our programmes typically have very little confidence with handling numerical problems and calculations (such as calculating molar concentrations). This lack of confidence even extends to confusion about the correct use of scientific notation and significant figures. We began to included basic numeracy within a first year module focused on laboratory skills however students were able to pass the module without engaging with the numeracy component and assessment so typically students who were intimidated by calculations avoided the numeracy part of the module. The numeracy section of the module was initially delivered via tutorials. For the session 2006/7 the assessment was put online and supported with online tutorials and quizzes in addition to timetabled classes. The quizzes were designed so that students had to pass each section before progressing to the following section however engagement with online material was poor and student performance appeared to deteriorate. The following year students were required to pass a preliminary formative test to gain access to the summative test. The use of a preliminary test improved students performance however further gains in performance were made in later years by setting students clear short term goals and targets (supported by regular emails) and providing focused tutorial support sessions.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 11 Apr 2011
EventSociety for General Microbiology Spring Conference 2011 - Harrogate International Centre, Harrogate, United Kingdom
Duration: 11 Apr 201114 Apr 2011


ConferenceSociety for General Microbiology Spring Conference 2011
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


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