First-year engineering students’ attitudes and learning goals in calculus: A ten-year follow-up study


  • Thea Bjørnland NTNU
  • Aslak Bakke Buan
  • Vidar Gynnild



This study sets out to examine engineering students’ attitudes and learning goals in a first-year mandatory calculus course. We explored how, and the extent to which, course specific goals and attitudes changed over the course of one semester. A study of learning goals and attitudes was conducted among first-year engineering students at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in 2007, and “educationally unwelcome” trends were observed. The current follow-up study (2017) was motivated by comprehensive course revisions from 2013 through 2015, including the use of digi- tal learning resources, improved tutoring sessions and the introduction of active learning methods. Contrary to expectations, this follow-up study brings no evidence of positive impacts of the course revisions at the mean level. Some students had stable attitudes and goal orientations, while others switched to undesired territories throughout the semester in the same way as observed ten years earlier. Better integration between foundational and applied courses, and consideration of the entire teaching and learning environment, may yield more of desired attitudes and goal orientations in the first year of study.


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Nordic Journal of STEM Education - Full Papers