10-12/07/2017 - IMA: Mathematics Education beyond 16: Pathways and Transitions

University of Birmingham
  • Mathematics Education beyond 16: Pathways and Transitions

    a conference of the IMA, CETL-MSOR and Teaching Mathematics and its Applications

    10 - 12 July 2017, University of Birmingham

    Second announcement

    This conference is for all who are involved in Mathematics Teaching and Education from years 11 through to undergraduate, in schools, sixth form and college, in university and in mathematics/statistics support units. It provides a forum for sharing, discussing and developing ideas, research and practice in this rapidly changing landscape. The main work of the conference will be organised in themed working groups. There will also be invited speakers from policy and practice, and a special contribution from CETL-MSOR.

    Themed working groups

    A significant part of the conference will involve engagement in themed working groups on:

    1)                  Mathematical knowledge in teaching

    2)                  Encouraging development of mathematical thinking and problem solving

    3)                  New curriculum and assessment

    4)                  HE practice

    5)                  Mathematics support within Higher Education

    Much of the conference will be devoted to the parallel working groups.  We anticipate the attendees will commit to one theme and that theme leaders will structure the time available to allow engagement with, and work on, questions relevant to the theme.  Presenters offering papers are strongly encouraged to circulate them to participants in advance for discussion during the working group to enable all to engage actively in the working group to which they commit.  Participants will be encouraged to continue to work after the meeting.

    Keynote Speakers

    Confirmed keynote speakers are

    • Sir Adrian Smith, University of London
    • Lara Alcock, Loughborough University
    • Sydney Padua, graphic artist
    • Tony Croft, Loughborough University


    Call for Contributions

    Contributions in the form of papers or other suitable presentations are invited to address any of the themes above, and will be accepted on the basis of an outline of 250 to 500 words which should be submitted by 30 January 2017 by e‐mail to conferences@ima.org.uk. Please state the title of the conference and the working group you are hoping to join. Successful contributors will be invited to submit either an eight page paper for inclusion in the conference proceedings (template to be provided upon acceptance) or suggest other presentation formats, posters, slides etc. Contributions should be informed by, and based on, research, practice, curriculum and/or policy. Outcomes of the review process will be disseminated in the last week of March 2017.

    Conference Programme

    The conference will run from 10:00 on Monday 10 July to 13:30 on Wednesday 12 July 2017. Further details of the conference programme will be announced during January 2017.

    Scientific Organising Committee

    Anne Watson (University of Oxford) – Co-Chair

    Chris Sangwin (University of Edinburgh) – Co-Chair

    Michael Grove (University of Birmingham) - Local Co-Chair

    Chris Belsom (Ampleforth College)

    Noel-Ann Bradshaw (University of Greenwich)

    Alison Clark-Wilson (UCL Institute of Education)

    Alf Coles (University of Bristol)

    Sue Forsythe (University of Leicester)

    Marion Hersh (University of Glasgow)

    Celia Hoyles (UCL Institute of Education)

    Meena Kotecha (London School of Economics and Political Science)

    Duncan Lawson (Newman University)

    Mary McAlinden (University of Greenwich)

    John Meeson (IMA)

    Peter Rowlett (Sheffield Hallam University)

    Nigel Steele (Coventry University)

    Honor Williams (The University of Chichester)

    Administrator: Lizzi Lake (IMA)

    Conference Webpage: http://ima.org.uk/conferences/conferences_calendar/mathematics-education-beyond-16-pathways-transitions.html

    Further information: For general conference queries, please contact Lizzi Lake, Conference Officer: E-mail: conferences@ima.org.uk, Tel: +44 (0) 1702 354 020

    Institute of Mathematics and its Applications, Catherine Richards House, 16 Nelson Street, Southend-on-Sea, Essex, SS1 1EF, UK.


    Theme descriptions

    1. Mathematics knowledge in teaching

    With the expectation that all students in 16-18 education should continue to study mathematics, the supply of highly skilled and effective teachers for this age group is of paramount importance. In order to cover an increased number of mathematics lessons, some FE colleges and university support centres have found that teachers who are qualified in science, technology and engineering are very effective in teaching mathematics.  It is well-known that personal relevant academic qualifications are not in themselves enough to guarantee successful teaching. The connection between mathematical knowledge required to obtain qualifications and the mathematical knowledge necessary in teaching has become more complex with the diversity of pathways post-16, and the increased inclusion of problem-solving at GCSE.  Any teacher, whatever their past experience, has to transform their personal knowledge into pedagogic knowledge.  In this theme we explore the nature of mathematical knowledge required to teach post-16, consider some existing attempts to solve the associated subject shortages, and propose ways forward.


    Key questions include:

    • What are the attributes and knowledge of a good teacher of mathematics in HE, FE and school post-16? 
    • How are teacher shortage and subject knowledge weaknesses problems being addressed within school, FE and HE institutions?
    • How might the teaching force at these levels be developed?



    2. Encouraging the development of mathematical thinking and problem solving

    The development of mathematical thinking and problem solving techniques is the basis on which powerful applications of mathematics can be used in diverse contexts to address and solve complex problems. Much has been debated and written about the essential skills and attributes necessary for students to gain mastery in mathematics. In particular the inclusion of a strengthened problem solving element is described as a key feature of current curriculum reforms both pre and post 16 in parts of the UK and we hope to hear from the experience of other countries.

    There is no single programme that will ensure that all students will develop the same skills and attributes at the same time. Learning environments are diverse and the ability to shape tasks, provide suitable mathematical challenges, based on students’ interests and potential are likely to require teachers to change their emphases in lesson preparation.

    This theme will provide participants with a forum to review and discuss approaches to the teaching and assessment of mathematical thinking and problem solving drawn from their own practice and also highlight areas for which there is room to innovate.

    Key questions include:

    • How can mathematical thinking and problem solving skills be developed in school and college mathematics?
    • What new insights and practices could different sectors contribute to the development of problem solving skills?
    • How can situations be managed when students encounter some mathematics they have yet to be ‘taught’?
    • How will teachers know when students have ‘grasped the essence’ of the mathematics encountered?
    • How effective can timed written assessments be in assessing problem solving skills?



    3. New curriculum and assessment

    It is recognised that the mathematics curriculum is influenced by numerous factors well beyond those who teach. It is reformed, reinvigorated and/ or changed in emphasis on a continuous and rapidly evolving basis. The purposes and modes of assessment are changing too and matching content, pedagogy and assessment practices remain challenging, especially in the light of curriculum reform, such as is taking place in some UK contexts, GCSE; Core Maths; A and AS. 

    This theme will enable international participants to both discuss experiences, practices and opportunities particularly at post 16 and share perspectives, pedagogy, challenges and key issues with regard to the implementation of curriculum and assessment reforms.

    Key questions include:

    • What are the particular challenges and opportunities for curriculum development within present contexts?
    • What kinds of end-of-course assessment frees teachers to utilise innovative pedagogical strategies within their teaching frameworks?
    • How can ongoing assessment and feedback be maintained?
    • How can students make strong connections between areas of mathematics through applications and problem solving?
    • How can effective assessment of problem solving and applications be realised?


    4. HE Practice

    This theme considers all aspects of learning and teaching mathematics, statistics and operational research (MSOR) in higher education. The theme is inclusive and welcomes contributions about specialist mathematics and also about students studying other degree programmes.


    Principal areas of interest include:

    • transition and pathways into higher education;
    • the onward transition: preparing students for the workplace or further study;
    • teaching, learning and assessment for a diverse cohort;
    • demonstrating and evidencing teaching excellence in the mathematical  sciences;
    • other aspects of practice in teaching, learning, assessment, feedback and student engagement.


    5. Mathematics Support within Higher Education

    In 2000 the Measuring the Mathematics Problem report described the mathematical issues facing students as they made the transition to higher education study within the science, engineering and mathematics disciplines, and the related challenges for those teaching them.  In the years that have followed there has been considerable effort to address the issues, and while there has been success, including a range of approaches and resources to support students, there is continued evidence that the problems not only persist, but they are now evident in a wider range of disciplines, including the social, health and biological sciences. Further, although mathematics support may have initially been accessed by those students struggling with the learning of mathematics, there is increasing evidence that the opportunities provided are also being utilised by the specialist and more-able student.

    Through this strand we seek contributions from anyone involved in supporting students with their learning of mathematics, be they specialists or non-specialists from any discipline; those struggling or more-able students. Equally, following upon the work of sigma within the UK between 2005-2016, we welcome contributions from those running mathematics support centres, or working to use the findings from mathematics support to enhance ‘traditional’ teaching and learning practices.  In particular, we welcome contributions that address the following questions:

    • How can mathematics support develop students as independent learners rather than remaining reliant on support throughout their university career?
    • What role can technology play in providing, and enhancing mathematics and statistics support?
    • Are there effective ways of evaluating the effectiveness of mathematics and statistics support