Empirical Research – an overview_1_

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Empirical Research – an overview_1_ Powered By Docstoc
					UK Empirical Research
Jim Ridgway and Sean McCusker Durham University Jim.ridgway@durham.ac.uk

Context in England and Wales
A National Curriculum National tests in English, science and mathematics at ages 7, 11, 14 and 16. Compulsory education to age 16, subject based with expectations of breadth Post compulsory education 16-18, subject based, often highly specialised (e.g. just mathematics and physics)

Research Evidence
• Interview with a policy maker • National data on performance • Surveys of attitudes towards mathematics and subject choice in post-compulsory education – At school – At university

Research Spine (cont.)
• Interviews with high attaining students in post-compulsory education about their choices regarding mathematics
– At school – At university

• Interviews with mathematics teachers • Interviews with university mathematics lectures • Interviews with women in the early stages of their careers, who either had or had not pursued careers in STEM

UK Policy
Top priorities for education • Faith school; Bullying; Truancy • The whole structure of education for students aged 14 – 19 years
– school structures – the whole curriculum (initiatives on functional skills in Maths, English and ICT; specialised diplomas 14-19…)

UK Policy
Teaching of mathematics and science, and with student attainment? • 25% of secondary teachers in mathematics and science are not specialists • attainment is too low • Take up is too low – especially by some groups (e.g.Afro-Caribbean boys from poor backgrounds)

UK Policy
• • • • Low take up of STEM by girls? Very, very important Focus of major reports and initiatives Clear evidence that patterns of attainment can be changed • Expectations of girls have changed. The way that maths is taught is also changing • Identity issues are important • Girls have more choices, and maths can be dull

UK Policy
• Actions in the UK? • More good teachers • None traditional subject combinations – with music, art etc. • A more exciting curriculum • More choice within mathematics • Perhaps reform university teaching • EU initiatives should set out to share effective practices where relevant and applicable in local cultural contexts

National Data 2004
3.00 2.50

2.00

G/B C+

1.50

1.00

0.50

0.00 0 0.5 1 1.5 G/B C+ Continuing Community Foundation Other Independent Voluntary Aided Voluntary Controlled 2 2.5 3

National Data 2004
A' Level Take Up Rates
35%

Percentage of those eligible, who take up opportunity

30% 25% 20% 15% 10% 5% 0%
2002 2003 English 2004 2002 2003 2004 2002 2003 History 2004 Mathematics

GCSE Year / Subject Boys Girls Total

National Data 2004
Maths Taken Up Beyond GCSE
80% 70%

60%

% Opting to continue

50%

40%

30%

20%

10%

0% A* A GCSE Grade Girls Boys B C

National Data 2006
• Paste in performance at GCSE, • Take up of A levels

Conclusions
• Strong ‘school effects’ • Girls
– Little change over 3 years – perform relatively better in other subjects – have more ‘desirable’ choices than boys – Low attaining boys are more likely to continue with maths than are low attaining girls

Survey of Attitudes and Influences (n=730, 6 schools)

My parents/guardian gave me confidence to make my own decisions about courses and career My teachers gave me confidence to make my own decisions about courses and career

I thought my friends would be studying maths at AS Level My teachers wanted me to do AS maths My parents/guardians wanted me to do AS maths

I thought I would need maths for my future career

I thought advanced mathematics would make a lot of use of ICT I am good at ICT

`

I enjoyed challenges – mathematics had lots of interesting questions I was interested in mathematics I was good at mathematics I enjoyed mathematics as a subject

-3

-2

-1

0

1

2

3

3 - Strongly Agree -3 Strongly Disagree

Male

Female

My parents/guardian gave me confidence to make my own decisions about courses and career My teachers gave me confidence to make my own decisions about courses and career

I thought my friends would be studying maths at AS Level My teachers wanted me to do AS maths My parents/guardians wanted me to do AS maths

I thought I would need maths for my future career

I thought advanced mathematics would make a lot of use of ICT I am good at ICT

I enjoyed challenges – mathematics had lots of interesting questions I was interested in mathematics I was good at mathematics I enjoyed mathematics as a subject

0

0.5

1

1.5

2

2.5

3

0 - Not Important 3 - Very Important Male Female

50% 0%

40%

30%

20%

10%

10%

20%

30%

40%

50%

Stongly Agree

Agree

Disagree

Strongly Disagree

Not Important

2: I was good at GCSE mathematics

Quite Important

Important

Very Important

Male

Female

50% 0%

40%

30%

20%

10%

10%

20%

30%

40%

50%

Stongly Agree

Agree

Disagree

Strongly Disagree

Not Important

Quite Important

1: I enjoyed mathematics as a subject at GCSE

Important

Very Important

Male

Female

I wanted to do AS maths (Agreement) 3 2 1 0 -1 -2 -3 Male Female Maths Non_Maths

I wanted to do AS maths (Influence) 3 2.5 2 1.5 4 1 0.5 0 Male Female Maths Non_Maths

My teachers wanted me to do AS maths (Agreement) 3 2 1 0 -1 -2 -3 Male Female Maths Non_Maths

My teachers wanted me to do AS maths (Influence) 3 2.5 2 1.5 1 0.5 0 Male Female Maths Non_Maths

Conclusions
• Students claim to be ‘empowered’ to make their own choices • Mathematics is
– Not very enjoyable (girls are more negative) – Not interesting (girls are more negative)

Interviews with 20 high attaining girls and boys about choices to take or not take a maths course

Conclusions from Interviews
• Socio-cultural factors
– Surprising absence of stereotypes

• Pedagogical factors
– Descriptions of weak gender effects – Strong emphasis on the quality of teacher explanation – Strong emphasis on student effort and understanding

• Impact of the digital divide
– ICT hardly used in mathematics; seen as irrelevant

Conclusions from Interviews
• Decision making
– Girls have more choices – Students claim to be ‘empowered’ – Important factors
• • • • • Enjoyment Past success Identity (creativity, enjoyment) ‘pull factors’ Subject combinations

Implications for Action
• Curriculum reform
– towards more enjoyable and creative mathematics

• Pedagogy
– reward effort, engagement and understanding

• Communication
– On the implications of different subject choices