Our research at MMU

The Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) team has been working on RME curriculum development for more than ten years. We have extensive experience designing RME-based classroom materials and leading professional development programmes for RME educators. We love to support teachers in developing and implementing the key pedagogic strategies which underpin successful RME.

The team has developed and trialled materials at a number of levels:

  • 2004-2007: MMU led a 3 year pilot of ‘Mathematics in Context’ (MiC) materials (a US-developed RME-based curriculum) at Key Stage 3 involving 12 schools (Years 7/8) and a limited national trial of Years 7/8/9, targeting low attaining students. The project was funded by the Gatsby Foundation. Analysis of students’ work suggested that RME encouraged development of informal strategies which facilitated problem solving in some situations (Dickinson & Eade, 2005). Assessment data from 100 (50 intervention and 50 control) Year 7 students were independently analysed by Durham University.  Intervention students were not only more likely to solve a problem correctly, but showed considerably more understanding through their ability to explain their strategy (Searle & Barmby, 2012).
  • 2007-2010: With Stella Dudzik from Mathematics in Education and Industry (MEI), the team wrote ‘Making Sense of Maths’, published by Hodder, and trialled the materials for Key Stage 4 Foundation level pupils. The project was jointly funded by the Gatsby Foundation, the Esmée Fairbairn Trust, and Mathematics in Education and Industry. Teachers reported positively on the RME approach in terms of student engagement and understanding and application of models (see Dickinson & Hough, 2012 and  Searle & Barmby, 2012).
  • 2012-2017: A pilot of RME-based materials in post-16 GCSE resit classes with one teacher and two groups of students showed strong improvement from pre- to post- test, sustained at delayed-test alongside improved ability to explain/justify solutions. The team followed this up with an intervention study funded by the Nuffield Foundation.  They delivered 2 RME-based modules (Number, 12 hours teaching and Algebra, 9 hours) to 4 intervention classes and 4 control classes in 3 sites. The project was independently evaluated by Sheffield Hallam University. Read more about the project here.

Our most recent trial – RME at Key Stage 3

  • 2018-2021: A nationwide randomised controlled trial of our Key Stage 3 materials was funded by the Education Endowment Foundation.  Read about it here.

Our research papers

Kathotia, V., O’Brien, K. & Solomon, Y. (2021) Just mathematics? Fostering empowering and inclusive mathematics classrooms with Realistic Mathematics Education,  Mathematics Education and Society Conference 11.

Solomon, Y., Hough, S., & Gough, S. (2020) The role of appropriation in guided reinvention: establishing and preserving devolved authority with low-attaining students, Educational Studies in Mathematics.

Dickinson, P., Eade, F., Gough, S., Hough, S., & Solomon, Y. (2019) Implementing RME in England and the Cayman Islands – dealing with clashing educational ideologies, in Marja Van den Heuvel-Panhuizen (ed) International reflections on the Netherlands Didactics of Mathematics, Springer.

Hough, S., Solomon, Y, &  Gough, S. (2019) Connecting the everyday with the formal: the role of bar models in developing low attainers’ mathematical understanding, in Van den Heuvel-Panhuizen (ed) CERME 11 – Eleventh Congress of the European Society for Research in Mathematics Education, Feb 2019, Utrecht, Netherlands, 4523-4530.

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.

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., 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. & 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.