The development of mathematics support: teaching and learning practices, scholarship and communities

Duncan Lawson, Tony Croft, Michael Grove

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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. Mathematics support for students is an innovation in the teaching and learning of mathematics which now plays a vital role in their learning experience and which is provided by most universities in the United Kingdom, and increasingly in other parts of the world. This paper describes and reviews research into the development of this provision over the last 30 years or so, providing a rationale for its establishment in terms of student under-preparedness for the mathematical demands of university study, widening participation in higher education and the increasing importance of mathematical and statistical skills to a very wide range of disciplines. The most common model used to provide mathematics support is a 'drop-in' centre which offers one-to-one support to students who attend to see an expert tutor and access learning resources at a time of their choosing. The paper describes the nature of the practices that take place in such centres and cites research evidence which explains how use by students has evolved from non-specialist users of mathematics seeking one-to-one help to groups of specialist mathematics students forming their own learning communities in the spaces offered. The paper goes on to demonstrate how a 'discipline of mathematics support' has emerged and has now matured into a recognisable and well-defined field of academic study with a growing corpus of scholarly works and self-sustaining communities of practice, the accrued benefits of which are now apparent.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)(In-Press)
JournalÉpijournal de Didactique et Epistémologie des Mathématiques pour l’Enseignement Supérieur
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 30 Jan 2022


  • Mathematics and Statistics Support
  • Academic Support
  • Communities of Practice


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