Maths differential

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The Independent Online
Maths differential

Most engineering lecturers in universities believe the mathematical knowledge of first-year undergraduates is weaker now than it was 10 years ago, a report from the Engineering Council says. Researchers who questioned 42 lecturers in four universities found that more than half felt their students were less strong than they used to be in trigonometry, differential calculus, differential equations and integration. Half believed that poor maths was undermining the quality of their engineering degrees.

The report says this decline in competence can be attributed partly to the fact that universities are accepting students with lower A-level grades, but it also blames an increase in the number entering university through vocational routes.

The Changing Mathematical Background of Undergraduate Engineers is available from the Engineering Council, 10 Maltravers Street, London WC2R 3ER.