Research carried out by Dr Ashley Compton, lecturer on the BA Primary Education with QTS and Primary PGCE courses at Bishop Grosseteste University (BGU), along with her former colleague Adam Unwin-Berry has been published by the British Congress of Mathematics Education.

Dr Compton’s research examined Year 3 children's perceptions of mathematics based on their drawings of themselves in a mathematics lesson. The research was undertaken in 10 Lincolnshire schools in the BGU partnership and demonstrated that the majority of these pupils were confident about mathematics, although there were some gender differences in their perceptions of mathematics itself and teacher-pupil interactions in mathematics.

For Dr Compton the gender differences, along with the innovative methods involved, made the project a fascinating research opportunity:

“I was eager to take part because I think that children's attitudes towards mathematics and mathematics lessons are important factors in their learning and are not often explored in the classroom. Getting them to draw the pictures was an indirect way of finding out what they thought about mathematics. It was really pleasing that so many of the children drew confident learners.

Some of the gender differences surprised me. We often hear about boys outperforming girls in maths but we found differences in the way the girls and boys perceived the teacher and perceived maths itself.

An important reason for tutors conducting research is for it to inform our teaching. I've shared my findings with the BA Primary Education (BAPE) students but will explore them in more detail with the Year 3 BAPE maths specialists to help them think about how they teach lessons and how the children perceive this.”

Prior to its publication Dr Compton’s research was presented at the British Congress of Mathematics Education conference. A collection of 25 research based papers were presented at the conference and all are available to explore here (

Our academics are regularly invited to present their at conferences around the world, you can follow all their travels on our news page and find out how you can start your own adventures on our course pages or by booking onto one of our Open Days.

30th November 2018

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