The evolution of mathematics support: a literature review

Duncan Lawson, Michael Grove, Tony Croft

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)
401 Downloads (Pure)


Mathematics support, the provision of additional learning opportunities to, primarily, non- mathematics specialist undergraduates has grown significantly since the early 1990s, particularly in the UK, Ireland and Australia. Alongside the growth in volume of provision, there has been a marked increase in the amount of research and scholarship relating to mathematics support that has been carried out and disseminated. This paper reviews this literature and in doing so identifies areas in which mathematics support has evolved. This evolution has taken place in response to a range of crucial changes in the external policy and general environment and, in particular, in response to the changing nature of the so-called ‘Mathematics Problem’. Key themes that emerge from the literature review, which are explored in detail, are the characteristics of students who engage with mathematics support and reasons why others do not; the role of the mathematics support tutor, who undertakes the tutoring task and how they are trained; the positioning of mathematics support within higher education structures; and the evaluation of the effectiveness of mathematics support.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1224-1254
Number of pages31
JournalInternational Journal of Mathematical Education in Science and Technology
Issue number8
Early online date22 Sept 2019
Publication statusPublished - 16 Nov 2020


  • Mathematics support
  • evaluation
  • impact
  • literature review

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mathematics (miscellaneous)
  • Education
  • Applied Mathematics


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