**Mathematical Proficiency on Entry to
Undergraduate Courses**

*Peter Edwards, Bournemouth University, Bournemouth, UK*

The article, for which this is the abstract, appears in Houston S.K., Blum
W, Huntley I and Neill N. (eds.) *Teaching and Learning Mathematical
Modelling*, Albion Mathematics and Applications Series, Chichester, UK pp.
125 - 133.

ISBN 1-898563-29-2

**Abstract**

Several reports have been published recently in the UK indicating a decline not only in the number of students offering A-level Mathematics on entry to undergraduate courses, but also in general mathematical proficiency. How do universities cope with this in engineering and science, for example, where the ability to apply mathematics to solve real-world problems is paramount? One solution widely used is diagnostic testing on entry to a course, with a subsequent programme of extra mathematics tuition, if needed. Some of the results from one such diagnostic test, given to a cohort of first-year engineering undergraduates in their induction week, are presented here. These and other indicators certainly seem to show that the mathematical competence of current UK undergraduates is a cause for concern, with many gaps in background knowledge and an abundance of mathematical misconceptions. Primarily this paper relates opinions and reactions from within the United Kingdom, though there are indications that this problem is not restricted to the UK.