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Flexible learner or imposter? Learning A Level mathematics in England through the COVID-19 pandemic

Golding, J; (2021) Flexible learner or imposter? Learning A Level mathematics in England through the COVID-19 pandemic. Teaching Mathematics and its Applications: An International Journal of the IMA , 40 (4) , Article , Volume 40, Issue 4, December 2021, Pages,. 10.1093/teamat/hrab025. Green open access

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Abstract

We evidence English teacher and student perspectives on the learning of pre-university mathematics ‘A Level’ courses through the pandemic period to July 2021. Data are drawn from a 2017–21 classroom-close study of enactment of such courses in 13 fairly representative centres, using an institutional ethnographic approach. The pandemic picture was generally one of the significant and sustained negative impacts, though over the course of the study, respondents reported progress in addressing early limitations in the harnessing of digital platforms for learning. A small number of participating students reported home-based study beneficial for their mathematics learning, and a bigger group identified some wider benefits that partly offset the challenges. Most participating 16–18-year-old students, though, reported finding remote learning of mathematics both demanding and limiting. Pandemic constraints impacted most strongly on opportunities to engage with newer emphases within A Level courses: problem solving, reasoning, modelling, statistics and mechanics. Receiving academics reported that mathematical preparedness, and confidence, for mathematics-intense university courses has also been widely affected, with a bigger range of preparedness and confidence than usual. The study draws attention to the importance of studying subject-specific impact and drawing on student as well as teacher perceptions. It exposes a range of consequences of the cancellation of examinations and a need to develop and share effective pedagogies for working remotely with pre-university students.

Type: Article
Title: Flexible learner or imposter? Learning A Level mathematics in England through the COVID-19 pandemic
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1093/teamat/hrab025
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1093/teamat/hrab025
Language: English
Additional information: © The Author(s) 2021. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Institute of Mathematics and its Applications. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted reuse, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Curriculum, Pedagogy and Assessment
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10137278
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