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The Maths Learning Support Centre (MLSC) in the Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) provides free mathematical support to all DIT students. This support is primarily delivered through a drop-in service, where students can receive one-to-one tuition, without an appointment, in any area of mathematics. In the first semester of the 2013/14 academic year, a significant proportion of students that availed of this drop-in service were mature students enrolled in Engineering programmes. This is of particular interest as mature students constitute a relatively small proportion of the total student body, motivating a deeper study of the reasons for the high levels of engagement in this cohort. To this end two focus groups were conducted, consisting of those who do and do not attend the MLSC. Particular interest was paid to the motivation of students who attend and the reasons given by those who do not. The motivations of mature students were found to be multifaceted whereas the reasons for non-engagement were mostly in line with the literature. In addition, some quantitative analysis was carried out to determine what effect the MLSC had on students’ academic performance.
Breen, C., Carr, M., Prendergast, M., (2015) Investigating the Engagement of Mature Students with Mathematics Learning Support, Teaching Mathematics and its Applications, 34 (1): 16-25 (2015) doi: 10.1093/teamat/hru027