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On-line version ISSN 2215-3470Print version ISSN 1011-0275


CASTILLO-SANCHEZ, Mario; GAMBOA-ARAYA, Ronny  and  HIDALGO-MORA, Randall. Factors that influence student dropout and failing grades in a university mathematics course. Uniciencia [online]. 2020, vol.34, n.1, pp.219-245. ISSN 2215-3470.

This article presents data on the identification of factors that influence student dropout and failure to pass a university-level mathematics course. Research was based on a mixed quantitative-qualitative design, using a predominantly quantitative approach. Questionnaires, interviews and a focus group were used to collect data from students, and a questionnaire was also applied to teachers. Data on student characteristics such as sex, area of origin, type of school or institution in which they finished secondary education, year of admission to university education, average of secondary education grades, university admission examination grade, course enrollment category, schedule of the group in which they enrolled, and career selected allowed the identification of students at risk of dropping out or failing a course. Among the most important reasons that students failed a course were lack of dedication to the study of course topics, poor study habits, deficiencies in necessary background knowledge, prioritization of other courses that a student was enrolled in, and lack of interest in studying. In the case of dropping out, important contributing factors included poor performance in the first course examination, prioritization of other courses, deficiencies in background knowledge, lack of interest, and low levels of dedication studying for the course. Based on these results, there is a need to review the topics included in the course curriculum, and to establish strategies that assure that students with weak backgrounds in mathematics are enrolled in an introductory mathematics course at the university level.

Keywords : dropping out; students; mathematics; academic failure; universities.

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