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FINNUT-Forskning og innovasjon i utdanningssektoren

Inclusive Mathematics Teaching: understanding and developing school and classroom strategies for raising attainment

Alternative title: Inkluderende matematikkundervisning: Innsikt som bidrar i utvikling av skole- og klasseromstrategier som fokuserer på elevers prestasjoner

Awarded: NOK 12.0 mill.

Students' performance and engagement with mathematics is crucial to their future education and training. Yet international tests and national patterns of attainment suggest that many students in Norway do not reach their full potential in this subject. At the same time, the curriculum in Norway is changing towards an emphasis on mathematical processes such as problem solving, reasoning and argumentation, rather than mathematical products. Including all learners and developing their understanding presents a challenge for teachers and a need to develop new strategies for teaching. The IMaT project addresses the need to make mathematics teaching in Norway more inclusive by: Surveying schools across Norway to find out more about how they organise education in mathematics, and, by drawing on existing data repositories, explore the impact of different strategies on student outcomes; Interviewing school leaders, teachers and students about their experience of mathematics teaching; Interviewing a group of municipality leaders and a group of school leaders in those municipalities to understand their processes of decision-making about how teaching is organised; Looking closely at classrooms in those schools to understand teachers' practice, and how students engage with mathematics; Developing and evaluating an intervention based on Realistic Mathematics Education, known for its positive impact on attainment and engagement across the range of ages and abilities. The project is organised in five related sub-projects, and involves a team of sociologists of education, mathematics education specialists, teacher educators, curriculum materials designers, educational researchers and statisticians. A major aim is to develop understanding of the organisation of teaching in Norway at all levels and to inform teachers' professional development in ways which are sustainable beyond the life of the project.

The project addresses the need to strengthen mathematics teaching in Norway in the context of international test performance and national patterns of attainment that suggest that many students do not reach their full potential, despite various initiatives in adapted education which aim to meet individual learners’ needs. In addition, the new curriculum emphasis on problem solving and reasoning skills demands deeper conceptual understanding, requiring pedagogic approaches which challenge and include all learners. Organised in 5 work packages, the project seeks to understand current school- and classroom-level practice in mathematics education. A national-level mapping will match learning environments, school-level data, individual register data and student characteristics to assess the impact of different strategies of adapted education on outcomes for different groups of students. A sample of 20 municipalities will be investigated further to understand the interface between governance and practice, based on data at municipal and school level to understand decision-making and implementation of strategies for adapted education. We will also survey teachers and students in a sub-set of 8 schools regarding their experience of mathematics teaching strategies and the learning environment in general. Teachers in this same sub-set of schools will be recruited for in-depth study focusing on classroom practice in relation to strategies for adapted education. Analysis of practice and impact in these schools will contribute to collaborative work with schools and teachers to develop, implement and evaluate an innovative programme for inclusive mathematics teaching based on Realistic Mathematics Education, known for its positive impact on attainment and engagement across the range of ages and abilities.

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FINNUT-Forskning og innovasjon i utdanningssektoren