for the learning of mathematics

an international journal of mathematics education

Robert Ward-Penny ,  Sue Johnston-Wilder ,  Clare Lee - Vol. 31 Num. 2 (2011)
 Exit interviews: undergraduates who leave mathematics behind


It is increasingly being recognised that a significant number of able students who embark on a mathematics degree become disenchanted and move away from mathematics after graduating. This paper reports on the experiences of four such learners, exploring their mathematical trajectories against ideas in current literature. Through a consideration of their evolving agentic identities, we argue that observed difficulties arise not only out of cognitive challenges, but also from a paucity of resilient learning strategies and behaviours specific to mathematics. In this way, we offer a perspective which has relevance in preparing future students more effectively.