Improving mathematical knowledge retention using online formative assessment

Casper Zelissen

During a course in mathematics, the mathematical knowledge and skill of students grow. However, after completion of the course there is a natural decay of this knowledge until it is needed again. The problem that students forget too much during an in-between period like this has been reported in the literature, and also at Wageningen University there is room for improvement in this respect. This project aims to improve the preservation of mathematical knowledge and skill in long-time memory of students, called mathematical knowledge retention. It aims to generate new knowledge on the subject by investigation the association with students’ attitude towards mathematics and by an intervention (online formative assessments), building on existing insights in the literature. The corresponding research questions are:

1.       Which factors associated with mathematical knowledge retention have been reported in scientific research? 

2.       What is the attitude towards mathematics (ATM) of students at Wageningen University, how does ATM develop over time (before, directly after and longer after a course), and to what extent is ATM associated with short-term achievement within the course and with long-term knowledge retention after the course?

3.       What is the effect of purposefully designed online formative assessments on short-term mastery of knowledge and skills, and on ATM, and to which design choices can this effect, if any, be attributed?

4.       What is the effect purposefully designed online formative assessments on long-term mathematical knowledge retention, and to which design choices, can this effect, if any, be attributed?

Project team