The Diagnostic Mathematics Information for Student Retention and Success (DMISRS) project is funded through the University Collaborative Development Programme (UCDP) from the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET). The project seeks to bring mathematicians from across the country together to work together collectively and collaboratively in an attempt to improve the graduation and throughput of students in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) by focusing on improving student performance in mathematics.
The first DMISRS Symposium, where mathematicians and other academics gathered to discuss and clarify the challenges of retention and success of mathematics students in Higher Education, took place on the 19th and 20th July, 2018, at the University of Cape Town.
The symposium aimed to raise and address questions relating to the teaching, learning and assessment of mathematics, to investigate the potential of diagnostic testing through the use of the National Senior Certificate (NSC) and the National Benchmark Tests (NBT) to influence this environment, and to look at the role that technology can play in a blended learning environment to enhance the teaching and learning of mathematics.
The two days included presentations by academics from across the country, followed by deep group discussion around the following themes:
The mathematics curriculum
Open Educational Resources
Staff development and motivation
Understanding our students
Examining what and how we teach
The symposium concluded with a commitment from participants to immediately start working collaboratively on three of these themes, namely, Open Educational Resources, Staff development and motivation, and Assessment and to produce outcomes in the form of, for example, academic papers, conference presentations, and reports.