An RME approach to building mathematical understanding has been shown to have impact in a number of countries; in particular, international test results in the Netherlands, where RME dominates teaching, led to a ranking of 11th in PISA 2015 compared to the UK’s 27th (OECD, 2016).  A direct comparison of Dutch and English students’ approaches to division illustrated the benefits of the RME model of progression, whereby Dutch students were able to develop far more confident and accurate use of the final formal procedure, in comparison to its erratic and uncertain usage by English students (Anghileri, Beishuizen & van Putten, 2002).

In the US, a set of RME materials – Mathematics in Context – was developed and evaluated by the University of Wisconsin. Taking into account how well teachers had implemented the materials and training, the evaluation concluded that RME had a positive impact on student achievement (Romberg and Shafer, 2005).

The MMU team has written a number of papers on the impact of RME in its trials:

Dickinson, P. & Eade, F. (2005) ‘Trialling realistic mathematics education (RME) in English secondary schools’, in Hewitt, D. (Ed) Proceedings of the British Society for Research into Learning Mathematics 25(3), pp 1-14

Dickinson, P., Eade, F., Gough, S. & Hough, S. (2010) ‘Using Realistic Mathematics Education with low to middle attaining pupils in secondary schools’, in Joubert, M. and Andrews, P. (Eds.) Proceedings of the 7th British Congress for Mathematics Education, pp 73-80

Dickinson, P., Hough, S., Searle, J., & Barmby, P. (2011). ‘Evaluating the impact of a Realistic Mathematics Education project in secondary schools’, in  C. Smith (Ed.) Proceedings of the British Society for Research into Learning Mathematics (BSRLM), 31(3), 47–52

Dickinson, P., Gough, S. & Hough, S. (2014) ‘Using context and models at Higher Level GCSE: adapting Realistic Mathematics Education (RME) for the UK curriculum’, in Pope, S. (Ed.) Proceedings of the 8th British Congress for Mathematics Education, pp 105-112