The Economics Network

Improving economics teaching and learning for over 20 years

1. Introduction

The starting point for this chapter is the ‘maths problem’ in United Kingdom Higher Education (UK HE). This provides a challenging environment for the delivery of both maths and stats teaching in many subjects, particularly economics that is the focus here. Many assume that the ‘problem’ is only in teaching students who illustrate very limited maths ability or confidence. In fact, the diversity of maths ability is a major issue. This is increasingly the case as UK HE attracts a high number of students from the European Union (EU) as well as outside the EU, and thus an increasing number of students from diverse educational backgrounds. This general upward trend in students coming from outside the UK is reflected in the background of students choosing to study economics.

This chapter will draw a distinction between maths and stats modules, compared to other economics modules that rely on understanding of maths and stats. Its aim is to provide guidance together with a selection of ‘hints and tips’ to assist practitioners, rather than outlining a review of the education literature. The sections have been kept moderate in length, and an effort has been made to allow the reader to be able meaningfully read discrete sections so that someone can dip in-and-out of the chapter.

Towards the end of the chapter there is a question and answer section that aims to provide step-by-step advice to overcome key problems when teaching maths and stats.