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Unit information: Curriculum Design and Development in School Mathematics in 2021/22

Unit name Curriculum Design and Development in School Mathematics
Unit code EDUCM5303
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Mrs. Tracy Helliwell
Open unit status Not open




School/department School of Education
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law


This unit involves participants considering: International perspectives in relation to evolving international mathematics curriculum development and the influence of culture; The design and delivery of mathematics curriculum including cross-curricular issues; The evaluation of curriculum change - intentions, methodology, outcomes.

This unit is designed to support you in developing yourselves as a critical and reflective thinker, through discussing and presenting key ideas from literature. We will look at research linked to an area of interest that you identify for yourself, across a range of theoretical frames and perspectives to extend your thinking in relation to curriculum design, innovation and development in school mathematics including what and how we teach. You will learn to apply ideas from research within mathematics education and curriculum theory in order to design, innovate and develop part of a mathematics curriculum for yourself.

The unit will ultimately support your dissertation writing by supporting you to develop a literature review on an area you are interested in within mathematics education. This is a key skill when you come to writing your dissertation later on in the academic year


  • To review the development of the mathematics curriculum in the UK and elsewhere.
  • To explore the implications for current and future mathematics education in schools.
  • To consider strategies for designing and innovating mathematics curricula.

Intended learning outcomes

After taking this unit, the student should demonstrate that they:

  • have knowledge of a range of important issues within the field of curriculum design and development in school mathematics
  • have completed a literature search
  • have learnt to apply these skills practically by designing a part of a mathematics curriculum.

Teaching details

This unit will be taught using a blended approach consisting of a mixture of synchronous and asynchronous activities including seminars, lectures, reading and discussions. Participants design the curriculum for the unit in the first session. There is a common reading in curriculum theory each week but also, for the mathematics education focus, each participant is given a reading linking the focus for the week with their identified issue for which they complete a literature search. The sessions are a mixture of input in relation to curriculum theory and discussion of the readings where participants both present the arguments of their writer and aim to take a critical stance to the ideas presented by others in the group. Here the learning theory is distributed cognition. Each participant gives a presentation of either the literature review or the design process to develop their ideas through critical discussion with their peers. Tutorial time is given for discussion before the presentation and for a draft of the summative task for the assignment.

Assessment Details

Formative assessment

* To write up the literature search for the chosen area. ILO 2
  • To illustrate how the ideas from the literature search would contribute to a redesigning of part of the mathematics curriculum (presentation). ILO 3

Summative assessment

* To present these two tasks (a literature review and the design of part of a curriculum) in one continuous piece of writing (equivalent to 4,000 words) including a theoretical frame from curriculum and learning theory. ILO 1-3

Reading and References

  • The following 3 international mathematics education journals are recommended: · For the Learning of Mathematics: An International Journal. · Educational Studies in Mathematics: An International Journal. · ZDM Mathematics Education: An International Journal
  • Core readings for the unit: Sutherland, R. (1991). Some unanswered research questions on the teaching and learning of algebra. For the learning of mathematics, 11(3), pp. 40-46. Bishop, A. J. (1994). Cultural conflicts in mathematics education: Developing a research agenda. For the learning of mathematics, 14(2), pp. 15-18. Stenhouse, L. (1975). An introduction to curriculum development and research. London: Heinemann Educational Publishers (pp. 1-5)