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National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics Evidence Bulletin

This page has been archived. The content was correct at the time of original publication, but is no longer updated.
Created on 06 June 2007 by ncetm_administrator
Updated on 20 May 2009 by ncetm_administrator

The National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics is undertaking a year-long review of today’s attitudes, practices and influences across mathematics education.

NCETM commissioned Curee to write an evidence bulletin as part of a strategy to give teachers access to research that can inform their practice. The evidence bulletin is designed to summarise research in interesting ways at the same time as providing materials to support teachers who want to try out new methods. NCETM is also looking at ways of providing similar bulletins in the future. 

In this evidence bulletin, the starting point is the set of principles for effective teaching of mathematics described in Improving Learning in Mathematics (DfES - now DCSF - Standards unit 2005):

  • build on the knowledge learners bring to sessions  
  • expose and discuss misconceptions
  • develop effective questioning 
  • use cooperative small group work 
  • emphasise methods rather than answers 
  • use rich, collaborative tasks 
  • create connections between mathematical topics 
  • use technology in appropriate ways
The bulletin explores each principle by presenting summaries of research evidence, sometimes illustrated with case studies or combined with practical activities to help you to pinpoint the relevance and implications of the research and translate the findings into classroom practice. 

All the articles use research as a starting point, and generally the most recent evidence. Evidence from all phases and levels has been used: primary, secondary and post-16.

Full reference details are given, including weblinks where available, so that you can look up the original research for yourself, find supplementary resources and classroom activities.

Download the whole bulletin

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19 July 2007 09:52
Group work & discussion was a focus for my AS class in a FE college from the start of the year. Due to the number of EAL students, I was also keen to encourage their use of accurate mathematical language. By the end of the year, they were able to organise group activities themselves & I heard questions like "could you explain why that works?", "please justify your answer" and - said with a grin- "what is the correct mathematical term ?"
I shall look at the Thinking Together approach as mentioned at the end of the article on Structured Group Work and would like to try recording my questioning to see how varied my technique really is.
By Michelle
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14 July 2007 15:48
I found the Evidence Bulletin interesting reading. I was particularly interested in the bit about Cognitive Acceleration and plan to try this out with my pupils at the start of next term.
By JeanSmith
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04 July 2007 12:23
Thanks Heather. You do respond constructively to part of my concern. However, it still concerns me that the Curee bulletins are being presented in a way that makes them feel authoritative, when in practice they are not based on a proper review of the literature. In my view, they need to be presented differently.
By DavePratt
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03 July 2007 18:40
Hi Dave, good to see you on the site. I think you are right we need the opportunity to look at a review of an inividual paper, add comments etc. From my working with the site I think this is already possible in the Research articles section. (Although I've not contributed there!) Another way forward would be to look at either writing or further developing a Mathemapedia entry on an important topic and to develop that over time with many relevant references. The Mathemapedia entry can also be linked to any items in the Portal. I've personally found the site very rewarding to use - still teaching though, I don't have the time to look up the references, but maybe people in colleges and universities would be able to contribute in some way. Looking forward to reading your contributions in the future! With best wishes, Heather
By HeatherNorth
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03 July 2007 08:30
It is important that NCETM finds ways oif making research available and accessible to practicing teachers. However, I do have some concerns about the approach being used to report evidence.
Having checked several bulletins, it is clear that a research bulletin, which is presented as reporting on research in an important area of mathematics teaching and learning, refers typically to only one or two references.
This is worrying since such an approach fails to give the reader a sense of the range of research evidence that could inform that topic.
I would advocate an approach in which the research bulletin is presented as a review of an individual paper, seen by the author to be signifcant. The site might then invite others to add to the catalogue of such reviews. Guidance would need to be given about how to write a bulleting in an appropriate style.
The reports already completed by Curee then could be regarded as seeding that project. Summaries of the inputs received could be commissioned once a year so that teachers and others may not wish to read each of the longer reports but could gain quick access to the summary.
By DavePratt
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