Why don't they understand? : an exploration of MATHS 108 : an honors thesis (HONRS 499)

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Keuneke, Chad A.
Clayton, David L.
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Thesis (B.S.)
Honors College
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MATHS 108 has historically been a class at Ball State University in which students do very poorly. In fact, out of all of the classes on campus, it often has the highest Drop/Withdraw/Failure (DWF) rate of over 60%. In general, the material presented in the course can be found in math classes ranging from 6th to 12th grade levels. So the question must be asked, why do so many students do poorly in a class, which covers material presented to most people in high school?This has been a big question in my mind since I started attending Ball State. As an actuarial science major in the math department, I obviously do not have many of the struggles many math students often complain of. However, as an employee of the Learning Center for three and a half years, I have been able to interact with MATHS 108 students throughout my career, and that interaction has helped me develop ideas on why people do poorly in MATHS 108, or in math in general.As the time to select a thesis topic approached, I felt I would like to try to do something that could make a useful contribution to the university. The more I thought about it, the more I thought I could do it within the math department because I have had so much experience there. Eventually I decided to work with MATHS 108. I know it is a feared class among many students, but why?