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Achievement and attitudes in GCSE mathematics resit classes

Researchers: Sue Hough | Professor Yvette Solomon ...

Project overview

Students who have not achieved grade C in GCSE Mathematics by the age of 16 are now required to work towards this as part of a 16-19 study programme. However, students’ past experiences mean they often lack motivation, confidence and understanding, and examination success rates are often poor. This project will evaluate how interventions based on ‘Realistic Mathematics Education’ (RME) can affect GCSE resit students’ attitudes, exam success and longer term understanding.

RME is used widely in the Netherlands – where achievement in maths is high – from kindergarten age onwards. This approach pushes pupils to make sense of mathematics by using contexts and visualisations.

In previous work, the research team developed RME-based teaching materials for UK schools, aimed at ages 11-16. In this new project, the team will develop and trial interventions in various post-16 settings, including a class taught by a non-specialist teacher.

The study will be evaluated independently to see if it may be suitable for a large-scale efficacy trial. It will also offer recommendations for future curriculum development, and shed light on how best to support teachers of GCSE retake in the longer term.


  • Sue Hough
    Manchester Metropolitan University
  • Professor Yvette Solomon
    Manchester Metropolitan University
  • Paul Dickinson
    Manchester Metropolitan University
  • Stephen Gough
    Manchester Metropolitan University

  • Cheryl Lloyd
    Programme Head, Education
    Nuffield Foundation
  • Director, Education
    Nuffield Foundation

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We aim to improve people’s lives by funding research that informs social policy, primarily in Education, Welfare and Justice. We also fund student programmes that give young people skills and confidence in science and research.

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