Success-factors in transition to university mathematics
Journal article, 2017

This study examines different factors' relative importance for students' performance in the transition to university mathematics. Students' characteristics (motivation, actions and beliefs) were measured when entering the university and at the end of the first year. Principal component analysis revealed four important constructs: Self-efficacy, Motivation type, Study habits and Views of mathematics. Subsequently, orthogonal partial least squares (OPLS) analysis was used for measuring the constructs' ability to predict students' university mathematics grades. No individual constructs measured at the time of entrance predicted more than 5% of the variation. On the other hand, jointly they predicted 14%, which is almost in pair with upper secondary grades predicting 17%. Constructs measured at the end of the first year were stronger predictors, jointly predicting 37% of the variation in university grades, with Self-efficacy (21%) and Motivation (12%) being the two strongest individual predictors. In general, Study habits were not important for predicting university achievement. However, for students with low upper secondary grades, the textbook and interaction with peers, rather than internet-based resources, contributed positively to achievement. The association between Views of mathematics and performance was weak for all groups and non-existing for students with low grades. © 2017 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.




study habits


views of mathematics





Samuel Bengmark

University of Gothenburg

Chalmers, Mathematical Sciences

H. Thunberg

Royal Institute of Technology (KTH)

T. M. Winberg

Umeå University

International Journal of Mathematical Education in Science and Technology

0020-739X (ISSN)

Vol. 48 7 988-1001

Subject Categories

Educational Sciences



Basic sciences

Learning and teaching

Pedagogical work



More information

Latest update