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Understanding evaluation of learning support in mathematics and statistics

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journal contribution
posted on 19.07.2011, 08:58 authored by Helen MacGillivray, Tony Croft
With rapid and continuing growth of learning support initiatives in mathematics and statistics found in many parts of the world, and with the likelihood that this trend will continue, there is a need to ensure that robust and coherent measures are in place to evaluate the effectiveness of these initiatives. The nature of learning support brings challenges for measurement and analysis of its effects. After briefly reviewing the purpose, rationale for, and extent of current provision, this article provides a framework for those working in learning support to think about how their efforts can be evaluated. It provides references and specific examples of how workers in this field are collecting, analysing and reporting their findings. The framework is used to structure evaluation in terms of usage of facilities, resources and services provided, and also in terms of improvements in performance of the students and staff who engage with them. Very recent developments have started to address the effects of learning support on the development of deeper approaches to learning, the affective domain and the development of communities of practice of both learners and teachers. This article intends to be a stimulus to those who work in mathematics and statistics support to gather even richer, more valuable, forms of data. It provides a ‘toolkit’ for those interested in evaluation of learning support and closes by referring to an on-line resource being developed to archive the growing body of evidence.



  • Science


  • Mathematics Education Centre


MACGILLIVRAY, H. and CROFT, T., 2011. Understanding evaluation of learning support in mathematics and statistics. International Journal of Mathematical Education in Science and Technology, 42 (2), pp. 189-212.


© Taylor and Francis


AM (Accepted Manuscript)

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This is an electronic version of an article published in the International Journal of Mathematical Education in Science and Technology [© Taylor and Francis]. The definitive version is available online at: