Impact of Mathematics on the Theoretical Computer Science Course Units in the General Degree Program in Computer Science at Sri Lankan State Universities

Sritharan Thambithurai
Issues in Informing Science and Information Technology  •  Volume 15  •  2018  •  pp. 001-014
Aim/Purpose: The purpose of this study is to identify how Advanced level Mathematics and Mathematics course units offered at university level do impact on the academic performance of theoretical Computer Science course units.

Background: In Sri Lankan state universities, students have been enrolled only from the Physical Science stream to do a degree program in Computer Science. In addition to that, universities have been offering some course units in Mathematics to provide the required mathematical maturity to Computer Science undergraduates. Despite of this it is observed that the failure rates in fundamental theoretical Computer Science course units are much higher than other course units offered in the general degree program every year.

Methodology : Academic records comprised of all 459 undergraduates from three consecutive batches admitted to the degree program in Computer Science from a university were considered for this study.

Contribution: This study helps academics in identifying suitable curricula for Mathematics course units to improve students’ performance in theoretical Computer Science courses.

Findings: Advanced level Mathematics does not have any significant effect on the academic performance of theoretical Computer Science course units. Even though all Mathematics course units offered were significantly correlated with academic performance of every theoretical Computer Science course unit, only the Discrete Mathematics course unit highly impacted on the academic performance of all three theoretical Computer Science course units. Further this study indicates that the academic performance of female undergraduates is better than males in all theoretical Computer Science and Mathematics course units.

Future Research: Identifying other critical success factors contributing to the students’ academic performance of the theoretical Computer Science through empirical studies
theoretical computer science courses, academic performance, discrete mathematics
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