Keeping Open the Door to Mathematically-Demanding F&HE Programmes

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


The project will investigate how pedagogic cultures impact on student learning in FE. It will examine how such courses can be enhanced to widen participation of those at risk of marginalisation and drop out from participating in mathematics.  It will compare two mathematics programmes: an inquiry based, applied programme ‘Use of Mathematics’ (UoM) and traditional A/S mathematics.  We ask:

  • How effective is UoM in comparison to traditional A/S level mathematics in promoting important learning outcomes?

  • How can different pedagogic cultures mediate different learning outcomes for students, especially those at risk of marginalisation?

  • How do different pedagogic cultures mediate students’ mathematical identities and aspirations for further study and how is this influenced by gender, social class and ethnicity?

We will address these questions using a combination of (i) a quasi-experiment incorporating measures of attainment, self efficacy, and intention to participate in F&HE (sample size 800); and (ii) a multiple case study of classrooms (approximately 20 classrooms in 10 institutions) with nested case studies of 45 individual learners identities.  Overall the project will further our understanding of how pedagogic cultures can support participation in mathematics, especially for our targeted, non-traditional, potential HE learners.


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