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Unit information: Children Learning Mathematics - School-based Inquiry in 2021/22

Unit name Children Learning Mathematics - School-based Inquiry
Unit code EDUCM5304
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Brown
Open unit status Not open




School/department School of Education
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law

Description including Unit Aims

The unit supports participants to conduct a small-scale school-based research project in the area of children's learning of mathematics. Having been introduced to some common research methods used in research in mathematics education, participants visit a local school or work with video recordings from classrooms to investigate some aspect of mathematical learning. As part of the assessment of the unit, students write up and present their project in the form of a conference paper using the format of a leading international mathematics education conference. The increase in weighting will allow participants to work on their research project in more depth. This unit involves each participant working in a local school to carry out a small-scale research project to explore an issue related to children's learning of mathematics. The project is written up and presented as a research paper for assessment.


  • To explore, in the school context, how children develop their knowledge of mathematics.
  • To provide opportunities for observation, reflection and for a small-scale inquiry relating to children learning mathematics.
  • To provide a pilot project to contribute towards work for the dissertation where appropriate or to give experience of actually carrying out a small-scale research project.

Intended Learning Outcomes

After taking this unit, the student should demonstrate that they:

  • have knowledge of a range of important issues related to research in mathematics education
  • have carried out a school-based investigation into an issue, developing practical research skills
  • have developed confidence in design, implementation and presentation of research projects
  • have developed skills in academic writing for refereed conference proceedings.

Teaching Information

The unit begins with six classes involving a mixture of reading, writing, discussion and practical activities. These will be taught using a blended approach consisting of a mixture of synchronous and asynchronous activities including seminars, readings and online discussions. Each participant then spends time doing fieldwork with video recordings from classrooms or in local schools linked with a local teacher interested in a similar research issue. The unit ends with a seminar in which participants give presentations about their research projects. Two tutorials are offered, one during research design and one during analysis of data to consider structure of the final paper.

Assessment Information

Formative assessment tasks include a short piece of writing outlining a research interest, preparatory materials for a research project (e.g., an observation schedule; satisfying ethics requirements) and the production of research data (e.g., transcripts, field notes, ).

Summative assessment is through the writing and presentation of a conference paper based on the guidelines for the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education (PME) (equivalent to a 4000 word assignment). ILO1-4.


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. EDUCM5304).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.