Looking back, looking forward: Valuing post-compulsory mathematics education

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This final article of the special issue looks back on our work on the ESRC projects, especially Keeping Open the Door to Mathematically-Demanding Courses in Further and Higher Education (published here and elsewhere), and looks forward to that of the 'Transmaths' projects under way - a collection of work on post-compulsory mathematics education during adolescence. I argue that this phase of mathematics education is dominated by two factors. First, there is the 'value' of mathematics to the learner and to society at large, which shapes all choices, decisions and strategies. Second, there is the fact of adolescence and the special demands on mathematics education this poses, for theoretical thinking, for identity, and for relationships. In our project, we adopted mixed methods approaches to capturing the 'whole person' of the mathematics learner (and teacher): their sense of self and motivation, their disposition to learn mathematics, and their mathematics self-efficacy. The key contradiction that emerges is that, between the use and exchange value of mathematical knowledge, whether for the learner, the teacher, the institution, or wider society and culture. I discuss the prospects for a theory of value in Activity theory and in Bourdieu's sociology. © 2011 British Society for Research into Learning Mathematics.
Original languageUndefined
Pages (from-to)213-221
Number of pages9
JournalResearch in Mathematics Education
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2011

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