Despite the growing use of computer software in engineering degree courses, only one student in six has any experience of spread-sheets or mathematical modelling packages before they leave school, a survey of 30 engineering lecturers has found. This lack of experience hinders first year students, 75% believed.
According to the survey by software supplier Cambridge Control, 50% of the lecturers felt that prior knowledge of maths software at school will become vital for engineering students within five years.
‘Lots of student engineers become disillusioned when they struggle to grasp the conceptual and functional skills needed at the start of an engineering course,’ said Professor Gerry Cain at the University of Westminster.
‘We need to look at ways of bringing A-level maths teaching closer to the learning style of engineering degrees.’
Cambridge Control and Westminster are trying to raise awareness of mathematical software tools in schools and colleges.