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Mathematical achievement in primary school children

Mathematical achievement in the primary years is an important predictor of future academic achievement, access to employment opportunities and health outcomes.

Research suggests that many children fail to perform to their full capabilities in mathematics. Recently, a number of interventions have been proposed to improve mathematics learning, however at present objective evidence concerning the efficacy of these interventions is lacking. In this project we will review all possible identified sources of research on interventions designed to help children who may be underachieving in mathematics. Specifically these interventions will not have been targeted at children who have identified mathematical difficulties, but to children with wide-ranging mathematical performance. Consequently our review will identify practices that may have the most benefit for large groups of children. Both individually administered and whole-class based interventions will be included in our review. We will perform a large-scale search of the available literature and identify relevant sources; if possible we will then compare the success of these interventions using statistics. This scientific review will provide useful information for teachers in order to inform how they teach and support mathematical learning in the classroom. We will produce an academic journal article summarising our findings, along with a handbook and website for teachers, we will also run training events for educational practitioners and policy makers. These events will be digitally recorded and shared on-line to enable wide-access to the information that we find out during our project.

Funder: Nuffield Foundation (due for completion March 2018)

External academic collaborators: Loughborough University and University College Dublin