Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2012-2013 (archived)

Module EDUC44930: Classroom Based Enquiry in A-level Mathematics

Department: Education

EDUC44930: Classroom Based Enquiry in A-level Mathematics

Type Tied Level 4 Credits 30 Availability Available in 2012/13 Module Cap None.
Tied to Postgraduate Certificate in Teaching A-level Mathematics


  • • Students on this module must have at least one year’s experience of teaching mathematics in secondary schools and must be able to have access to teaching A level mathematics.


  • • A-level Mathematics Pedagogy

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • To develop the skills of small scale, classroom based enquiry methods.
  • To introduce students to the theoretical and practical underpinnings of specific advanced mathematics pedagogies.
  • To promote critical understanding of, and reflection on, cognitive, social and cultural issues that impact on advanced mathematics learning.
  • To introduce students to the research evidence around the use of pedagogic tools (such as ICT) in advanced mathematics teaching.
  • To provide the opportunity for students to develop their own understanding of mathematics.


  • The topics upon which the lectures will be based are:
  • Alternative mathematics pedagogies at A level
  • The role of statistics, decision and mechanics in developing mathematical understanding
  • Researching the mathematics classroom
  • Research ethics
  • Action research
  • Reliability, validity and triangulation
  • Assessment in A level mathematics

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Successful students will:
  • LO1: Have a critical understanding of the types of research method appropriate for small scale research;
  • LO2: Have a critical understanding of key research concepts such as validity, reliability and triangulation;
  • LO3: Have a critical understanding of current assessment practices in advanced mathematics.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Successful students will:
  • LO4: Be able to analyse critically mathematics pedagogies;
  • LO5: Be able to critically analyse research relating to mathematics education and then apply this knowledge to solve specific problems relating to practice in a school context.
Key Skills:
  • Successful students will develop:
  • LO6: Critical analysis of research literature;
  • LO7: Presentation skills;
  • LO8: Academic writing and communication skills;
  • LO9: Critical reflective analysis.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • The module will be taught through a mixture of lectures and seminars
  • The lectures will introduce a particular topic linked to the key topics listed above, with readings and tasks for the following sessions. [LO1, LO2, LO3]
  • The seminars will then follow up this lecture, with presentations and discussions of the research and problem-based approach to exploring the relevant issues. Participants will be encouraged to contextualise research findings to their own experience as practitioners and nascent researchers. [LO4, LO5, LO6, LO7, LO9]
  • The assignments will be a small scale classroom-based enquiry project with the results delivered through a presentation (33%) and a written report (66%) [LO8, LO4, LO5, LO6, LO7, LO9]

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 8 1.5 hrs 12
Seminars 8 1.5 hrs 12
Presentations 20 20 mins 7
Directed tasks (via study guide and DUO) 7 1 hr 7
Preparation, project development and reading 262
Total 300

Summative Assessment

Component: Assignment Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Written Project 4000 words 67% Yes
Presentation 1500 words equivalent 33% Yes

Formative Assessment:

Verbal feedback is given to students' contribution during class teaching sessions and, in particular, feedback on the presentation will be formative for the written project. Staff can be contacted for individual help. Written formative feedback is provided for the academic outline of the written assignment, and explored in more depth in the seminars and in visits to schools within the PGCert. Formative feedback on mathematical subject knowledge will be provided during seminars and tutorials. Does or could the work students are required to complete during this module raise any ethical issues (e.g. if students are required to conduct some research involving human participants)? If ‘Yes’, please provide details of how these issues will be handled (e.g. advice to students, informed consent procedures etc.) The assignment will involve a small-scale classroom based study, which will be expected to involve the exploration of an ordinary teaching or assessment practice common to a classroom setting. Nevertheless, ethical approval for projects through the usual School of Education mechanisms will be required and clear advice on how to complete approval forms will be provided, as will sessions discussing the nature of ethics in educational research.

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University