Document Type

Research Paper


A diagnostic mathematics test has been administered to incoming Fanshawe College Pre-Health Science (PHS) students for many years. A perception that this test was a good predictor of incoming students’ success in the PHS mathematics curriculum has traditionally been the basis for justifying the necessity of this test. In addition, the PHS program required students to have completed Grade 11 University, Grade 11 University/College, Grade 12 University or Grade 12 College level math upon completing high school. This study aimed to evaluate the relationship between mathematics diagnostic test scores and final grades in all PHS courses, as well as overall grade point average (GPA) in the PHS program. It also aimed to evaluate the relationship between each high school math course and the associated high school math grades with performance in the PHS program. The study used histogram, bar graph and relative frequency analyses; Pearson or Spearman correlation coefficients at a 5% level of significance ( = 0.05); and a Kruskal-Wallis One Way Analysis of Variance on Ranks followed by all pairwise multiple comparison procedures (Dunn’s Method) at  = 0.05. From a statistical standpoint, the diagnostic mathematics test alone was not a clear predictor of a student’s performance in the PHS program. Students who had taken Grade 12 Mathematics for College and Apprenticeship (MAP4C) in high school showed significantly different PHS GPAs ( = 0.05) than students who had taken other high school math courses. Also, some important trends existed that may aid PHS program staff in identifying students at risk, such as a highly right-skewed distribution of student diagnostic test scores, high PHS semester 1 math failure rates for students scoring below 41% on the diagnostic test, and high PHS semester 1 math failure/withdrawal rates for students scoring very high or very low on the diagnostic test. The study recommends using a combination of student diagnostic mathematics test scores and high school courses taken to identify students at risk and to provide appropriate support for these students.

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