An Evaluation of the Mathematics Foundation Course in Sultan Qaboos University: Does High School Performance Matter?

Mohammad Mazharul Islam, Asma Al-Ghassani, Ahmed Y.S. Al-Hadhrami


Although the mathematics foundation program was introduced in Sultan Qaboos University (SQU) half a decade ago, there has been no evaluation or assessment of the program. The aim of this study was to evaluate the students’ performance in the Mathematics foundation course in SQU and to examine the predictive value of  a student’s high school performance for success in the math foundation course. The study considered a sample of 551 students who took the math course (MATH2107) during 2014 Spring semester. More than 95% of the students were admitted to SQU with a high school score of 80 and above.  The analysis revealed that, in general, female students were admitted to SQU with a significantly higher average high school score than the male students. The findings indicate a very unsatisfactory performance of the students in the mathematics foundation course as the mean GPA was 1.66 and more than half (59%) of the students obtained a GPA less than 2 (i.e. below grade C), of which 14% failed and 35% obtained grade D. Female students outperformed male students in the mathematics course. High school mathematics performance, gender and cohort of students were identified as significant predictors of success in the mathematics foundation course.  To increase the success rate of the mathematics course, the high school curriculum needs to be aligned with the University standards and the admission authority should continue to give more attention to high school mathematics scores along with overall high school performance while making admission decisions for the College of Science in SQU.


Predict; Foundation; High school score; Sultan Qaboos University, Oman.

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