Factors Influencing Students' Choice of Mathematical Level at High School and the Impact this has on Performance on Business Courses in Norway
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionWEI International Academic Conference Proceedings. 2019, 28-40. 10.36739/wei.prcdngs.1/2019.rm.4.2
Students attending courses in theoretical mathematics (N- or S-maths) in high school obtain significantly better marks in Bachelor studies in business administration than students attending courses in applied mathematics (P-maths). The purpose of this article is to identify the reasons behind business students’ choice of course in mathematics in high school, and what impact this choice has on their performance on the introductory course in mathematics in business school. We conducted a survey among students attending the introductory course in two business schools in the autumn of 2017, with 213 respondents. Lack of interest in mathematics is a significant factor explaining students’ choice of courses in applied mathematics in high school. For students who found high school mathematics difficult, attending a P-course was the easiest way to graduate from high school. In addition, the effort required to pass a P-course was significantly less than that required to pass a theoretical course. Strategic reasoning might therefore also be a reason for taking P-courses. Those who opted for N-courses in high school had a profound interest in mathematics, while students choosing S-courses emphasized that attending those courses would enable them to complete university study in economics and business administration. Students attending P-courses at high school found that the introductory course in mathematics required more effort than did students with theoretical mathematics from high school.