Can Math Be a Bottleneck? Exploring the Mathematics Perceptions of Computer Science Students

Greg Alpár*, Sabiha Yeni, Efthimia Aivaloglou, Felienne Hermans

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference Article in proceedingAcademicpeer-review


Software Engineering and Computer Science (CS) programs often contain several mathematical courses or courses with large mathematics components or dependencies. Study success in those subjects can be influenced by students' attitudes towards mathematics and their perceptions about their own relation with mathematics. To gain insights into how the mathematics perceptions of computer science students affect their studies, we collected qualitative data from fourteen CS students from two universities in the context of an elective mathematics course. In this qualitative research, we used a triangulation strategy by collecting data from three different sources (interviews, questionnaires, and math-history assignments) to develop a comprehensive understanding of CS students' mathematics perceptions. The thematic analysis revealed the factors that affect students' perceptions about mathematics, including various types of prior experiences, their self-efficacy, math anxiety, and motivation sources. The analysis also highlighted that students find mathematics important for skill transfer to specific CS topics and for supporting continuous learning.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the IEEE Global Engineering Education Conference (EDUCON 2022)
EditorsIlhem Kallel, Habib Kammoun, Lobna Hsairi
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-6654-4434-7
ISBN (Print)978-1-6654-4435-4
Publication statusPublished - 11 May 2022
Event2022 IEEE Global Engineering Education Conference: Digital Transformation for Sustainable Engineering Education - Tunis, Tunisia
Duration: 28 Mar 202231 Mar 2022


Conference2022 IEEE Global Engineering Education Conference
Abbreviated titleEDUCON 2022
Internet address


  • Computer Science education
  • beliefs
  • mathematics
  • self-efficacy


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