Faculty of Education

Mathematics and Science Education

MaSER logo

The Mathematics and Science Education Research group conducts and disseminates research that provides the basis for both the improvement of the teaching and learning of mathematics and science at all levels of education and for influencing government policy. The group fosters collaboration between mathematics and science educators across all educational sectors and organisational units for these purposes.

This nationally important project provides a unique opportunity to identify factors that lead to quality mathematics learning. The goal of the project is to build a compelling evidence base for national best practice in mathematics education by identifying key factors in school mathematics improvement as measured by NAPLAN. Having a compelling evidence base about best practice in mathematics education in primary and secondary schools will give policy-makers, systems, schools and teachers a basis for making decisions to improve the quality of mathematics teaching and learning, and ultimately to increase Australian students' success in mathematics.

Funding Body: Office of the Chief Scientist, Australian Government

Project Members:

Prof Kim Beswick   Assoc Prof Rosemary Callingham (Project Director)   Dr Tracey Muir  
Assoc Prof Judy Anderson    Dr Colin Carmichael   Assoc Prof Vincent Geiger
Prof Merrilyn Goos    Dr Derek Hurrell   Dr Christopher Hurst
Dr Steve Thornton   Assoc Prof Helen Watt

This project will demonstrate a transformation in the way mathematics is taught to primary school students, enabling them to solve real-world problems using calculus. Building on an award-winning pilot project in which primary students used professional engineering software to master university-level calculus, we will provide hundreds of young people access to this and more advanced topics. Teachers will be trained to use multi-media learning materials designed at the University of Tasmania in conjunction with an interdisciplinary team involving the Australian Maritime College. The project will promote a love of learning mathematics to encourage enrolment in tertiary subjects such as Science and Engineering, which have been in decline.

More information can be found on the Calculus For Kids website.

Funding Body: Australian Research Council (ARC)  |  Project No: LP130101088

Project Members:

Dr Christopher Chin   Dr Andrew Fluck   Assoc Prof Irene Penesis   Prof Dev Ranmuthugala    Dr Asim Ghous

This project addresses a key identified need in Australia: the provision of quality teachers of mathematics at all levels of the pre-tertiary system through evidence-based improvement of pre-service teacher education programs.

More information can be found on the CEMENT websites:

Conversations on Knowledge for Teaching Conference

The Conversations on Knowledge for Teaching conference has been developed to build upon previous work by the project team during the Building the Culture of Evidence-based Practice in Teacher Preparation for Mathematics Teaching CEMENT project

More information can be found on the Conversations website.

This seed project identifies the need to further enhance a set of eExams good practice guidelines across multiple institutional settings. The seed project also provides direction to further develop a robust eExams infrastructure that must have sector wide relevance and cross discipline applicability. To do so, the project will construct a general toolset for ICT enhanced high stakes assessment using an approach that is designed to be open, modular and as technology neutral as possible. The accompanying good practice guidelines will be extended and validated via a national action research project. The guidelines, study results and the eExam platform technology will be freely disseminated across the Australian and International higher education sector.

More information can be found on the eExams website.

Funding Body: Office of Learning and Teaching |  Project No: F0022132

Project Members:

Dr Andrew Fluck   Dr Mathew Hillier

This project aims to foster genuine, lasting collaboration between the mathematicians, scientists, and mathematics/science teacher educators who prepare future teachers of secondary school mathematics and science, with an emphasis on the middle-school years. Also to identify and institutionalise new ways of integrating the content expertise of mathematicians and scientists, and the pedagogical expertise of mathematics and science teacher educators.

More information can be found on the IMSITE website.

Funding Body: The Office of Learning and Teaching

Project Members:

Prof Kim Beswick   Assoc Prof Sharon Fraser   Assoc Prof Irene Penesis
Dr Andrew Seen    Chris Burke   Simon Ellingsen  

Improved teacher quality has been identified as the key to effecting change. Quality teaching draws on thorough knowledge of the content and how it should be taught. But excellent teachers of mathematics also have a deep passion for their discipline and for helping students to learn it in ways that enable them to share that passion (Chubb, Findlay, Du, Burnester, & Kusa, 2012). Students who experience inspiring teaching are more likely to be motivated to put in the necessary hard work to learn mathematics successfully and to want to pursue it as far as they can. Improving teacher quality must include attention to the affective qualities of teachers (their motivations, passions, and beliefs about mathematics and how it is taught and learned).

More information can be found on the website.

Improving the nation's skills in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) remains a continuing concern, especially given the decline in international test results. The project aims to introduce a new approach to promoting this learning across grades 3-6 through modelling with data. With a focus on inquiry processes involving data variation and uncertainty within STEM-based contexts, the project aims to develop the important mathematical and statistical literacies needed for lifting student achievements. In advancing both theory and practice, the project aims to contribute to knowledge of primary students' capabilities for STEM problem solving and ways of enhancing implementation of the Australian Curriculum.

Funding Body: Australian Research Council (ARC)  | | |  Project No: DP150100120

Project Members:

   Prof Jane Watson    Prof Lyn English

The project is funded by the University of Tasmania Community of Practice Initiative: Peer Learning Circles (PLC) program. This PLC will review current teacher knowledge formulations in mathematics and science education including Shulman's Pedagogical Content Knowledge (PCK), Ball and colleagues’ Mathematical Knowledge for Teaching (MKT), and Rowland et al.'s Knowledge Quartets to identify the space that we refer to as representational fluency. The PLC will enable its team members to reflect on their own understanding of the notion of representational fluency and how it pertains to STEM teaching, which will, in turn, inform their teaching practices. The process will provide a springboard for exploring how representational fluency, as part of teacher knowledge, predicts instructional quality and student learning outcomes.

More information can be found on the project website.

Project Members:

Dr Vesife Hatisaru   Assoc Prof Sharon Fraser   Dr Greg Oates   Prof Barbara Holland   Dr Nicole Maher   Assoc Prof Andrew Seen

Principals as STEM Leaders – Building the Evidence Base for Improved STEM Learning (PASL) is funded by the Australian Government Department of Education and Training, and responds to the need for a science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) skilled workforce to ensure Australia remains globally competitive. PASL will support principals to effectively drive whole-of-school collaborative effort in STEM engagement and STEM teaching and learning for STEM capability.

More information can be found on the PASL website.

Project Members:

Prof Kim Beswick (Project Director)   Assoc Prof Sharon Fraser (Project Director)   Prof Vince Geiger (Project Director)  
For a full list of project members please see the PASL website.

Community engagement programs provide the opportunity to develop personal skills and play a role in providing a well-rounded tertiary education. The School of Engineering & ICT at the University of Tasmania supports this through the STEM Education and Outreach Program. The program involves under-graduate and post-graduate students delivering STEM learning experiences for school students. This project aims to investigate the tertiary students' perceptions of the participating in the program.

Project Members:

   Bernardo Leon de la Barra    Ms Sarah Lyden    Dr Donna Satterthwait    Lauren Ward

This study will provide benchmark standards of appropriate teacher knowledge for teaching Mathematics and English across the levels of schooling from Foundation to Year 12, at different stages of experience, and will explore ways in which teacher knowledge can be developed

More information can be found on the Powerful Knowledge website.

Funding Body: Australian Research Council (ARC)  |  Project No: DP130103144

Project Members:

Prof Kim Beswick   Assoc Prof Rosemary Callingham   Assoc Prof Helen Chick    Prof Ian Hay    Prof Tom Nicholson

This grant will show that modern physics can be understood by primary school students, who can then use these new skills to solve real-world problems usually only attempted by senior secondary students. In the world around them, these students see applications of physics, including mechanics, thermodynamics, quantum mechanics and electromagnetism; applied in computers and high-tech devices. On TV they see the application of physics, although they are unable to match the relevant theory. We will seek to expand their understanding of these principles. This will be achieved using specialist computer software and graphics, series of PowerPoint presentations and videos.

Funding Body: Ian Potter Foundation  |  Project No: F0021747

Project Members:

Dr Christopher Chin   Dr Andrew Fluck   Prof Dev Ranmuthugala

The STEMCrAfT Project is about capacity building for STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Maths) teachers using a peer support model. The STEM Framework is a reflective decision making tool that represents the collective thinking, expertise and experience of STEM teachers. It provides opportunities to expand the individual teachers experience from the solitude of the classroom and into the teaching community. The framework aims to assist the STEM teacher select resources suitable to their learning environment. It is specifically designed for rural and regional teachers whose resources are often limited

More information can be found on the  STEMCrAfT website.

Project Members:

Prof Kim Beswick   Dr Christopher Chin      Dr Andrew Fluck    Assoc Prof Sharon Fraser    Mr David Harte    Sue Kilpatrick    Bernardo Leon de la Barra    Assoc Prof Irene Penesis
Prof Dev Ranmuthugala    Dr Andrew Seen    Prof Giles Thomas   Dr Wendy Boyd    Mr David Ellis
Dr Marianne Logan    Gail Manton    Assoc Prof Paul Newhouse    Colin Pettit    Prof Guy M Robinson    Dr Geoff Woolcott

This project focussed on improving literacy and numeracy across Years 5 to 8 in response to the outcomes of the NAPLAN results in Years 7 and 9.

Throughout 2013 and 2014, academics from the Faculty of Education, in collaboration with the Department of Education (DoE), worked with principals and teaching staff from four school clusters identified by the DoE.

The project commenced with three key aims:

  1. Improve the literacy and numeracy outcomes of high school students, targeting the transition from primary to high school;
  2. Focus on teacher professional learning through an exploration of issues, and sharing best practice pedagogy; and
  3. Develop and trial initiatives that may be transferable to all Tasmanian government schools.

More information can be found on the Supporting Literacy and Numeracy webpage

Project Members:

Assoc Prof Sharon Fraser   Dr Tracey Muir    Dr Peter Brett    Dr David Moltow   

A Commonwealth funded project focused on improving the quality of maths and science education throughout the country. TEMPEST aims to look at the existing professional learning programs and resource in mathematics education, consider their effectiveness and where gaps exist. The outcomes for this project will be the development of new professional learning programs to be trialled in Tasmanian schools. These will then be rolled out nationally with implementation officers assisting on the ground. An online portal hosted by the Australian Association of Mathematics Teachers will also be constructed. This project will be run by the University of Tasmania with cooperation from Swinburne University of Technology, the Australian Association of Mathematics Teachers, the Tasmanian Department of Education, TasTAFE and the Tasmanian Catholic Education Office.

More information can be found on the TEMPEST website.

Funding Body: Australian Government Department of Education

Project Members:

Prof Kim Beswick   Assoc Prof Rosemary Callingham   Assoc Prof Helen Chick   Suzanne Crowley
Assoc Prof Sharon Fraser   Prof Sue Kilpatrick   Dr Tracey Muir    Dr Robyn Reaburn
Dr Andrew Seen

David Harte

Mr David Harte

Noleine Fitzallen

Dr Noleine Fitzallen

Dev Ranmuthugala

Prof Dev Ranmuthugala

Prof Giles Thomas

Prof Giles Thomas

Lauren Ward

Judy Anderson

Assoc Prof Judy Anderson
University of Sydney

Jo Balatti

Dr Jo Balatti
James Cook University

Shaun Belward

Dr Shaun Belward
James Cook University

Wendy Boyd

Dr Wendy Boyd
Southern Cross University

Michael Bulmer

Dr Michael Bulmer
University of Queensland

Colin Carmichael

Dr Colin Carmichael
Charles Sturt University

David Ellis

Mr David Ellis
Southern Cross University

Lyn English

Prof Lyn English
Queensland University of Technology

Tricia Forrester

Tricia Forrester
University of Wollongong

Vincent Geiger

Assoc Prof Vincent Geiger
Australian Catholic University

Dr Asim Ghous

Dr Asim Ghous
Australian Scientific & Engineering Solutions Pty Ltd

Merrilyn Goos

Prof Merrilyn Goos
University of Queensland

Jow Grotowski

Prof Jow Grotowski
University of Queensland

Mathew Hillier

Dr Mathew Hillier
University of Queensland

Kathryn Holmes

Dr Kathryn Holmes
University of Newcastle

Peter Howley

Dr Peter Howley
University of Newcastle

Derek Hurrell

Dr Derek Hurrell
University of Notre Dame

Christopher Hurst

Dr Christopher Hurst
University of Notre Dame

Marianne Logan

Dr Marianne Logan
Southern Cross University

Gail Manton

Gail Manton
WA School Pathways Program

Paul Newhouse

Assoc Prof Paul Newhouse
Edith Cowan University

Prof Tom Nicholson

Prof Tom Nicholson
Massey University, New Zealand

Judy-Anne Osborn

Dr Judy-Anne Osborn
University of Newcastle

Colin Pettit

Mr Colin Pettit
Tasmanian Department of Education,
Early Years and Schools Curriculum Services

Leon Poladian

Assoc Prof Leon Poladian
University of Sydney


Dr Elena Prieto-Rodriguez
University of Newcastle

Guy Robinson

Prof Guy Robinson
University of South Australia

Caz Sandison

Dr Caz Sandison
University of Wollongong

Louise Sutherland

Dr Louise Sutherland
University of Sydney

Charlotte Taylor

Assoc Prof Charlotte Taylor
University of Sydney

Steve Thornton

Dr Steve Thornton
Oxford University

Rodney Vickers

Assoc Prof Rodney Vickers
University of Wollongong

Jana Visnovska

Dr Jana Visnovska
University of Queensland

Bernadette Walker-Gibbs

Assoc Prof Bernadette Walker-Gibbs
Deakin University

Helen Watt

Assoc Prof Helen Watt
Monash University

Annette Worthy

Dr Annette Worthy
University of Wollongong

Geoff Woolcott

Dr Geoff Woolcott
Southern Cross University