How does a mastery style of teaching in mathematics lead to deeper understanding and sustained levels of attainment.

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


The National Centre for the Excellence in Teaching of Mathematics (NCETM) continues to promote the approach known as ‘mastery’ to schools in England to develop deeper understanding and sustained learning. England has emulated the approach from countries which have scored highly in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) and Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) testing. The introduction of the approach has not always been uniform. Misconceptions surrounding the approach misunderstanding of the amalgams of the constituent parts have led to uneven implementations of the approach. This research aims to discuss how the mastery approach might lead to deeper understanding and sustained levels of attainment using case studies considering and comparing the views of teachers from Shanghai and England. Responses from questionnaires have been compared to the views of teachers from two different schools in England, one of which has been in receipt of high levels of training from the NCETM and the other which is considering the implementation of mastery as a teaching approach in primary mathematics.
Findings from the research suggest that the approach has the potential to deepen mathematical understanding and to lead to sustained levels of attainment when careful consideration is given to the introduction and implementation of the approach by all stakeholders within the school. This has subsequent implications for professional development and how this is approached and managed by senior leaders.
At a higher level the systems and structures that are in place to monitor the attainment and progress of children must be considered alongside the mathematics curriculum that is delivered.
Date of AwardNov 2019
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Northampton
SupervisorAmanda O'Shea (Supervisor)


  • Mastery
  • Mathematics

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