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
InSITE 2018  •  2018  •  pp. 901
[This Proceedings paper was revised and published in the 2018 issue of the journal Issues in Informing Science and Information Technology, Volume 15]

ABSTRACT
Mathematics is fundamental to the study of Computer Science. In Sri Lankan state universities, students have been enrolled only from the Physical Science stream with minimum ā€˜Cā€™ grade in Mathematics in the advanced level examination to do a degree program in Computer Science. In addition to that universities have been offering some course units in Mathematics covering basis in Discrete Mathematics, Calculus, and Algebra to provide the required mathematical maturity to Computer Science under-graduates. Despite of this it is observed that the failure rate in fundamental theoretical Computer Science course units are much higher than other course units offered in the general degree program every year.

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 and to make appropriate recommendations based on our findings.

Academic records comprised of 459 undergraduates from three consecutive batches admitted to the degree program in Computer Science from a university was considered for this study. Results indicated that 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 in the first and second year of studies were significantly correlated with academic performance of every theoretical Computer Science course unit, only the Discrete Mathematics course unit highly impact-ed 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.
theoretical Computer Science courses, academic performance, Discrete Mathematics
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