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Title: Developing a framework for understanding mathematics enrichment in the UK
Author: Feng, W. Y.
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2009
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Despite the increasing amount of activity taking place under the label of ‘mathematics enrichment’, the area is under-theorized and the term ‘enrichment’ often used commonsensically, its meaning taken as shared. This thesis develops, applies and refines a conceptual framework for understanding mathematics enrichment, focusing on current practice in the UK. Four case studies were conducted, each focusing on a distinctive enrichment initiative with national reach, chosen on the basis that they were regarded as representing different forms of good practice. Each case study explored the ideas and experiences of enrichment held by the staff organizing and students participating in the initiative, through analysis of official documents and interviews, informed by observations of enrichment practice. This research shows that enrichment is not a unidimensional concept. Four prototypes were identified, focusing respectively on the development of mathematical talent, popular contextualisation of mathematics, enhancement of mathematical proficiency and learning processes, and outreach to the mathematically underprivileged. Moreover, enrichment is a product of context-dependent interactions between the people and institutions involved: the ostensible conceptions and intentions of enrichment initiatives are mediated by the interests of funders, collaborators, intermediaries, and end-users. Policymakers should support research on enrichment and collaboration between initiatives where appropriate, but also recognise that the ‘enrichment’ enterprise is underpinned by voluntary effort exercised autonomously. More fundamentally, questions regarding the adequacy of the school Mathematics Curriculum and the engagement of all students in ‘meaningful’ mathematical activities must be tackled as a matter of urgency by policymakers in collaboration with the mathematics-education community.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available