IIER logo 4
Issues in Educational Research, 2019, Vol 29(1), 243-260.
[ Contents Vol 29 ] [ IIER Home ]

Bridging the primary to secondary school mathematics divide: Teachers' perspectives

Mark Prendergast
Trinity College Dublin, Ireland

Niamh O'Meara
University of Limerick, Ireland

Clare O'Hara
Central Statistics Office, Dublin, Ireland

Lorraine Harbison
Dublin City University, Ireland

Ian Cantley
Queen's University Belfast, UK

The transition from primary to secondary school is regarded as one of the most difficult crossings in students' educational careers. The move, which typically occurs between the ages of twelve and fourteen, can be particularly pronounced for mathematics. This article describes the results of a questionnaire distributed in the Republic of Ireland in which the views of primary and secondary teachers were ascertained with regard to the transition process. A total of 298 primary and 173 secondary teachers completed the questionnaire. Results showed that teachers at both levels identified similar issues such as a lack of continuity between curricula, a lack of knowledge of each other's curriculum and a lack of communication between both levels. Many of the teachers' suggestions on how the transition process could be improved centred on these issues, as well as highlighting a need to provide joint professional development opportunities for teachers.
[ PDF full text for this article ]

Authors: Dr Mark Prendergast (corresponding author) is an assistant professor in mathematics education in the School of Education, Trinity College Dublin. He is a qualified secondary level mathematics teacher and his research interests include teacher education, mathematics education, and working with non-traditional students.
Email: mark.prendergast@tcd.ie

Dr Niamh O'Meara is a lecturer in mathematics and secondary level mathematics education in the University of Limerick. Niamh is based in EPI*STEM (formally the National Centre of Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching and Learning). EPI-STEM is a leading national organisation promoting excellence in teaching mathematics at both primary and secondary levels.

Dr Clare O'Hara is a Trinity College Dublin PhD graduate. Upon graduation she was a mathematics lecturer on a foundation program for adult and international students in the Dublin Institute of Technology. She currently works for the Central Statistics Office which is based in Dublin.

Dr Lorraine Harbison is an associate professor in mathematics education in the School of STEM Education, Innovation & Global Studies at Dublin City University. Lorraine has worked as a primary school teacher for a number of years both in the classroom as well as providing learning support in mathematics.

Dr Ian Cantley is a secondary level mathematics education lecturer in Queen's University Belfast. Prior to completing his PhD, Ian worked as a secondary mathematics teachers for a number of years in Northern Ireland. He currently coordinates and teaches in the Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) Mathematics program.

Please cite as: Prendergast, M., O'Meara, N., O'Hara, C., Harbison, L. & Cantley, I. (2019). Bridging the primary to secondary school mathematics divide: Teachers' perspectives. Issues in Educational Research, 29(1), 243-260. http://www.iier.org.au/iier29/prendergast.pdf

[ PDF full text for this article ] [ Contents Vol 29 ] [ IIER Home ]
This URL: http://www.iier.org.au/iier29/prendergast-abs.html
Created 19 Jan 2019. Last correction: 19 Jan 2019.
Website: Roger Atkinson [rjatkinson@bigpond.com]