Mathematics Learning, Identity and Educational Practice: the Transition into Post-compulsory Education

Lead Research Organisation: University of Manchester
Department Name: Environment, Education and Development


The project aims to understand how different pedagogical practices in mathematics at school (GCSE) and in transition to college (AS level) impact on students' dispositions and choices of subjects in post-compulsory education, and how these interact with the students' socio-cultural context. The authors believe that the quality of a student's experience and engagement in mathematics in school is crucial to their disposition and identity and consequently has a great influence on their choices and future success in mathematically-demanding subjects at college.

The project will pursue its objectives by means of:

  1. Interviews with 20+ students about their background and experiences during their progression from GCSE into post-compulsory education. Students will be interviewed on two occasions: before they enter college and during their first days at college. These students will come from four feeder schools (two schools for each of two colleges) within diverse socio-economic areas and as far as possible reflecting diverse educational practices.

  2. Case studies of educational practices will be conducted in each of the schools and colleges.

The students and institutional case studies will provide rich accounts of how socio-cultural and educational factors can influence decisions and afford/constrain the students' identities as learners of mathematics.


10 25 50
Description The transition into mathematics at AS-level 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact There were several questions after the talk and it stimulated interest in various participants with similar interests and projects. This resulted in several citations to the work in other papers by these participants.

The project was part of an ESRC knowledge transfer grant that combined the results of other two related projects and worked with the NCETM to produce teaching materials and policy briefs from the outcomes of the research.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2010