Researching mathematics education

Associate Professor Joanne Mulligan is an excellent example of Macquarie “growing its own”.

Associate Professor Mulligan completed her PhD in 1992 and has subsequently progressed through the academic ranks at Macquarie while becoming internationally recognised for her research in mathematics education.

Her research focuses on psychological and cognitive aspects of early mathematical development and pedagogical approaches that facilitate this learning. Her work has been funded through numerous ARC and other research grants.

Through a suite of studies, titled the Pattern and Structure Project, Associate Professor Mulligan developed a new construct, Awareness of Mathematical Pattern and Structure (AMPS), and an assessment and pedagogical program to support a novel approach to mathematics learning.

Supported through ARC Discovery projects Reconceptualising Early Mathematics Learning and Transforming Children’s Mathematics and Scientific Reasoning, she leads a growing research domain focused on structural development in mathematics and related fields of inquiry in science, technology and mathematics.

Her research has made significant impact on mathematics education theory and practice, reform in curriculum and assessment, and professional learning initiatives at system, national and international level.

And this research has demonstrated impact through its translation into practice through initiatives such as the NSW Department of Education and Communities’ Counting On and Count Me In Too, and Australian government projects such as the Numeracy Research in NSW Primary Schools’ Project, the Quality Teacher Program (AGQTP), the Australian School Innovation in Science, Technology and Mathematics (ASISTM) program and the implementation of the Australian Curriculum-Mathematics.

Currently she is leading a $2.3 million project Opening Real Science: Authentic Mathematics and Science Education for Australia under the Enhancing the Training of Mathematics and Science Teachers (ETMST) scheme through the Office for Learning and Teaching.

The project brings together educators, scientists, mathematicians and stakeholders in a multi-disciplinary team across seven universities and three partners to revolutionise mathematics and science secondary and primary teacher education.

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