Chalmers students ‘flunk maths’

More than half of first-year students on certain courses at Gothenburg’s prestigious Chalmers University of Technology did not pass their first maths exam – the worst result in the history of the university.

Students on a number of Masters courses in science and engineering take their first maths test eight weeks into their programmes. Last year, only 45 percent of the 550 students passed, compared to 75 percent five years ago.

“For most of them, the problem is a lack of understanding of what mathematics is really about,” said Sven Jerner, a senior maths lecturer at Chalmers, to Göteborgs Posten.

Lecturers have also noticed that fewer students are turning up to maths classes. Jerner said that many of them had lost their grip on the subject to such an extent “that they quite simply think it’s embarrassing and pointless to turn up.”

Sweden’s government set aside 30 million kronor last December to support maths teaching at the country’s universities. Chalmers’ share of this, 1.2 million kronor, is going towards supporting beginners and improving cooperation with high schools.

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