Research in CRESTEM draws on a range of social science perspectives, and on quantitative and qualitative methodologies, to explore formal and informal practices of teaching, learning and engagement with STEM. There is a strong tradition of collaboration with both national and international research and user organisations.
The work is organized around three major interlinked programmes of research:
Curriculum, pedagogy and assessment
Recent work in the area of curriculum, pedagogy and assessment has included studies of learning progression in science, stratification effects in mathematics classrooms, the professional development of teachers, changing standards of mathematics attainment over time, the role of imagination in undergraduate neuroscience education, and the use of haptics in dentistry education. This programme of work also includes international comparative analyses, for example, of mathematics education in high performing countries and science education pedagogy.
Aspirations, attitudes and participation
In collaboration with colleagues in the Centre for Public Policy Research, we have been developing strategies for widening participation in science education and careers, using an interdisciplinary approach that brings together insights from sociology, feminist theory and science pedagogy. In mathematics education, research on attitudes and participation has included studies of first-year engineering students’ experiences in HE, participation in post-16 mathematics education in the UK and mathematics in work. This programme has also included work on how young people use assistive technologies.
Learning in formal and informal contexts
Research in the area of learning in formal and informal contexts includes studies of public engagement with science and of family learning in science centres, and practice-oriented work on family and adult numeracy. The ‘Border Crossings’ study has developed research-based resources to help science and mathematics teachers traverse traditional subject boundaries.