The Mathematical Crisis in Secondary–Tertiary Transition

  • Pietro Di Martino
  • Francesca Gregorio


Tertiary transition in mathematics appears to be an insurmountable struggle for many students, including for high achievers in secondary school. The high dropout rates in many Western Countries represent a big issue from an individual and social point of view. It appears particularly significant to analyse this phenomenon in the context of the degree course in Mathematics, studying students’ cognitive and affective reactions to the (often unexpected and severe) difficulties encountered in the tertiary transition. With this aim, we developed a narrative study in a specific context in Italy—that involves excellent students from secondary school—to investigate how successful and dropout students describe their experience in transition. Implications for the educational practice are discussed.


Mathematical failure at tertiary level High achievers Narrative research Tertiary transition in mathematics Affective factors 


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Copyright information

© Ministry of Science and Technology, Taiwan 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of PisaPisaItaly
  2. 2.Haute École Pédagogique VaudLausanneSwitzerland

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