MEC seminar - 19 May 2021

  • 19 May 2021
  • 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: Dr. Christina Artemenko “Confronted with arithmetic complexity – An educational neuroscience approach” (University of Tuebingen, Germany)

In arithmetic, difficulties are particularly prevalent when complexity increases. In particular, the carry operation in addition (carrying a decade when the sum of the units exceeds 9) and the borrow operation in subtraction (borrowing a decade when the unit of the minuend is smaller than the unit of the subtrahend) reflect major obstacles in math education. By investigating the behavioral and neural correlates of arithmetic complexity, we found that the carry and borrow operations increase the difficulty of addition and subtraction because of increased processing demands. In this talk, I will address the numerical (place-value computation), cognitive (working memory), emotional (math anxiety), and developmental aspects (longitudinal development) of arithmetic complexity processing. This research contributes to educational neuroscience by understanding the neurocognitive mechanisms underlying arithmetic processing.


40 mins Presentation + 20 mins Q&A: Dr. Paola Iannone “Transition from school to university mathematics: understanding the crisis” (Loughborough University)

When reporting on studies concerning the transition from school to university mathematics, seldom the educational context is considered as a factor that shapes students’ experiences of this transition. Yet educational contexts vary very much even across Europe:   high schools’ syllabi vary (e.g. there is much Euclidian geometry in Greek schools and almost none in English schools - does this make a difference when it comes to university mathematics?), but also universities are organised very differently (e.g. in the UK context it is not really possible to repeat exams more than twice, in Italy students can repeat exams as many times as they wish). This talk will report preliminary findings of a comparative study that involved students from three European countries with very different educational contexts: Italy, the UK and Switzerland. The theoretical approach will follow that of Clark and Lovric (2008) who equate transition from school to university mathematics to a rite of passage. In this theoretical framework the crisis inherent in the ‘passage’ is seen as a necessary step to become a well-adjusted university student. Therefore, understanding the factors that shape such crisis in context will help supporting students to overcome it and will prevent drop out of university studies. The research tool - an open-ended questionnaire originally designed for the study by Di Martino and Gregorio (2019) - was translated into English and French and administered to first year mathematics students in the UK and in (the French-speaking part of) Switzerland at the start of their mathematics degree.  Thematic analysis of the questionnaire replies, consisting in two rounds of coding of the data and some analysis of the codes’ distributions, will allow us to compare and contrast the experiences of the students in the three countries as they transition to university mathematics degrees. Particular emphasis will be given to the differences between the experiences of the three student cohorts and to the links that these experiences may have to the educational context in which they exist. 


Clark, M., & Lovric, M. (2008). Suggestion for a theoretical model for secondary-tertiary transition in mathematics. Mathematics Education Research Journal, 20(2), 25-37.

Di Martino, P., & Gregorio, F. (2019). The mathematical crisis in secondary–tertiary transition. International Journal of Science and Mathematics Education, 17(4), 825-843.

Contact and booking details

Ouhao Chen
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