MEC seminar - 11 November 2020

  • 11 November 2020
  • 14:00-16:15
  • Microsoft Teams

The Mathematics Education Centre will host this research seminar via Microsoft Teams. Please note the link to join will be circulated a week before the event.

40 mins Presentation + 20 mins Q&A:Prof. Dr. Catherine Gunzenhauser “How does executive functioning facilitate mathematics achievement? ” (Universität Freiburg, Germany)

Abstract: A large body of literature documents strong positive associations between students’ executive functioning (EF) and academic achievement, particularly mathematics achievement. Given that EF skills are malleable and responsive to training, providing students with EF training seems to be a promising starting point to support mathematics learning. However, transfer of EF training to mathematics performance has proven difficult.

In our research, my colleagues and I try to disentangle possible sources of transfer problems. We argue that EF can facilitate academic performance via two pathways, namely cognitive performance and goal-directed behavior, and we discuss how domain-specific or even task-specific factors (e.g., task demands, prior knowledge, and motivational aspects) may influence successful application of EF to learning in this domain. In this talk, I will provide an overview on the state of research on the processes involved in the association between EF and mathematics achievement. A particular focus will be placed on my own studies with preschool and elementary students.

15 mins: Break

40 mins Presentation + 20 mins Q&ADr. Colin Foster “Students’ confidence when answering diagnostic questions” (CMC, Loughborough University)

Abstract: I will talk about an ongoing programme of collaborative research with Simon Woodhead (Eedi), Craig Barton (Eedi, and also a Visiting Fellow here, and an advisor to LUMEN) and Alison Clark-Wilson (Institute of Education, University College London). Simon and Craig are co-founders of the Eedi online platform (, which provides teachers with free access to over 50,000 multiple-choice diagnostic mathematics assessments, which are intended for use as formative assessment tools. The platform is used by students in over 5,800 schools (over 4,500 in the UK). An innovative feature of the Eedi platform is that it invites students to indicate on a 5-point Likert-type scale how confident they are that each answer they give is correct. I will present findings from 7,302 UK mathematics students aged 6-16 who responded to questions on the platform between March 2019 and May 2020 (a total of 219,826 responses). We were able to measure calibration (the correlation between accuracy and confidence) and test for associations between confidence and gender, age and socioeconomic disadvantage. Also, by analysing the same students’ responses to analogous questions presented 3 weeks later, we found the first support for the hypercorrection effect (Butterfield & Metcalfe, 2001) in a realistic school mathematics context.


Butterfield, B., & Metcalfe, J. (2001). Errors committed with high confidence are hypercorrected. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 27, 1491-1494.

Contact and booking details

Ouhao Chen
Email address
Booking required?