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Towards an evidence base for best practice in mathematics education

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In 2015 the Office of the Australian Chief Scientist commissioned a study to identify strategies and characteristics of schools in which students had demonstrated substantial achievement gains in numeracy, as measured by performance in the National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN, see Case studies were conducted in 52 different “successful” schools, and survey responses were collected from more than 200 teachers, 100 school leaders, and 1000 students. “Successful” schools – primary, secondary and combined – were located in every Australian state and territory, in the government, Catholic and Independent school sectors, and across a broad range of socio-economic levels. “Successful” schools were found to have a consistent and positive focus on mathematics across the school, in classrooms, and with individuals. Yet there was no single teaching approach or program that led to success in mathematics. This presentation aims to stimulate discussion on characteristics of “successful” schools and what can (and cannot) be learned from studies such as this.

Merrilyn Goos is a Professor of Education at The University of Queensland, Australia. She is an internationally recognized mathematics educator whose research is known for its strong focus on classroom practice. She has led projects that investigated students’ mathematical thinking, the impact of digital technologies on mathematics learning and teaching, the professional preparation and development of mathematics teachers, and numeracy across the curriculum. In 2004 she won a national award for excellence in university teaching for her work as a mathematics teacher educator. Currently she is Editor-in-Chief of Educational Studies in Mathematics, and a Vice-President of the International Commission for Mathematical Instruction.

This talk is part of the Mathematics Education Research Group (MERG) series.

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