Research Project

Investigating the Impact of RME Approach on Achievement in Post-16 Maths Resit Classes

Project Directors: Dr Sue Hough, Prof Yvette Solomon
Amount: £80,000
Funder: Nuffield
Duration: December 2014 - January 2016

Students who have not achieved at least grade C in GCSE Mathematics by the age of 16 are now required to work towards this as part of a 16-19 study programme. Often delivered in a short course with similar teaching to pre-GCSE approaches, GCSE resit can exacerbate the difficulties that these students have experienced in the past: prior experience means that they frequently lack motivation, confidence and understanding, and examination success rates are often poor. In the Netherlands, where mathematical achievement is high, almost all pupils from Kindergarten onwards follow a curriculum based on Realistic Mathematics Education (RME). RME pushes pupils to make sense of their mathematics by using contexts and visualisations. In this project, three MMU mathematics teacher educators – Sue Hough, Steve Gough and Paul Dickinson - are teaching number and algebra modules as part of the GCSE resit programme in four classes in three different Post-16 settings. Together with educational researcher Yvette Solomon from ESRI, they are collecting a wide range of qualitative and quantitative data in order to investigate the impact of an RME-based approach on students' attitudes to mathematics, their understanding of what they learn, and their achievements.

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