Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Master's Report

Degree Name

Master of Science in Mathematical Sciences (MS)

Administrative Home Department

Department of Mathematical Sciences

Advisor 1

Shari Stockero

Committee Member 1

Melissa Keranen

Committee Member 2

Ann Humes


Michigan Technological University had a collective 28% drop, fail, or withdraw rate in four predominantly first-year mathematics classes for the fall semesters from 2011 to 2015, with 58% of students dropping, failing, or withdrawing from College Algebra I in the fall of 2013. A survey was distributed via email to the 2015-2016 first year class of Michigan Tech in an attempt to determine why students struggle in making the transition from high school to undergraduate mathematics class, and what instructors can do to make this transition easier for students. It was found that the time between a student’s last high school mathematics course and their first at the university was not influential on student struggles. The first mathematics class taken at Michigan Tech was related to some differences in struggle, but the student’s highest level of mathematics before arriving at the university and the grade a student received in their first mathematics class at Michigan Tech were fairly significant factors. Over all students surveyed, the factors found to be most difficult included the clarity of lectures, the students’ ability to study for tests and exams, and working with an online mathematics homework system.

Included in

Mathematics Commons