Dr Niamh O’Meara has received funding from the Irish Research Council , under the New Foundations Scheme (€10,000) and SCoTENS (£5,000), to conduct a research project entitled “Mind the Gap: A Cross Border Study Addressing the Transition from Primary to Post Primary Mathematics Education”. This study is being conducted in collaboration with three other third level institutes namely, Trinity College Dublin, Church of Ireland College of Further Education and Queen’s University Belfast. The research team involved in the study is Dr Niamh O’Meara (Lecturer in Mathematics Education, EPI•STEM), Dr Ian Cantley (Lecturer, Queens University Belfast), Dr Mark Prendergast (Assistant Professor in Mathematics Education, Trinity College Dublin) and Dr Lorraine Harbison (Lecturer in Mathematics Methods & ICT, Church of Ireland College of Education). The project will run from April 2016 until September 2017 and will be conducted on a national scale. This project focuses specifically on mathematics education at two different levels – the final year of primary education (Year 7 in Northern Ireland [NI] and 6th class in the Republic of Ireland [ROI]) and the first year of post primary level (Year 8 in NI and 1st Year in the ROI). The ESRI (2007) reported that this transition often results in a decline in academic motivation, self-efficacy and behaviour. This is further exacerbated by the negative perceptions that many students develop towards the subject at this time (Ashton, 2008; Bicknell, 2009). In both jurisdictions, the lack of coherence between the teaching and learning of mathematics across levels is cited as the main contributory factor (Education and Training Inspectorate, 2010). While work has been done to better align the syllabi at both primary and post primary level, for example Project Maths, little has been done in either region to investigate other issues that affect transition. As such it is critical that this issue is investigated from the perspective of the teachers who act as the key stakeholders in this transition phase.
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