Improving retention for all students, studying mathematics as part of their chosen qualification, by using a voluntary diagnostic quiz

Carol Calvert, Rachel Hilliam, Juliet Coleman


This case study demonstrates the issues and advantages in encouraging students to take responsibility for their learning and to be better prepared both in terms of knowledge and expectations for their study. The study outlines the improvement in retention achieved when students were encouraged to use a voluntary diagnostic quiz on a first year University mathematics module. Initially the power of the diagnostic quiz, in predicting future success on the module, was identified using predictive analytics. Students were contacted by experienced Education Guidance staff who encouraged them to take the quiz prior to course start with the aim of using their results to steer them to start on the right course. The diagnostic quiz total score was made available to the students course tutor prior to course start to enable further tailoring of support to individual students. Early indications show an improvement in early in module retention. The module in this case study was for distance learning students on an open access mathematics course.


diagnostic quiz, predictive analytics, retention, distance education, learning analytics

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