EMT (2011-2016)

The Effectiveness of Mathematics Teaching (EMT) study conducted two lines of enquiry into the teaching and learning of mathematics in two countries, England and China:

  1. Structured observations, standardised mathematics tests and questionnaires with teachers and pupils were carried out to evaluate and correlate teaching and learning internationally;
  2. Unstructured observations, video-stimulated interviews with teachers, video-stimulated focus groups with teachers were performed to collect various views on the effectiveness and quality of mathematics teaching from different roles in and beyond classrooms within and across countries.

It has been found in the study that 9 to 10-year-olds (n = 326) from China outscored their English peers (n = 236) at the same age by over 20 per cent in each of two mathematics tests derived from TIMSS 2003. Structured analysis of lesson videos has revealed that Chinese mathematics teachers scored much higher than their English colleagues on an internationally validated observation instrument which focused on the quality of six dimensions of teacher behaviours. Furthermore, the quantity of teacher behaviours were also measured and the subsequent correlational analysis on pooled data indicated a positive effect of whole-class active teaching (r = .97, p < .01) and pupil time on task (r = .95, p < .01) and a negative impact of whole-class lecture (r = -.91, p < .01), individual/group work (r = -.81, p < .05) and classroom management (r = -.77, p < .05) on pupils’ mathematics performance cross-nationally. Qualitative findings are connected with quantitative results to explain how teachers think, how this relates to the way they teach and how the differences of teaching result in the performance gap cross-nationally.

For a brief introduction to the two parts (QUAN and QUAL) of findings, please see the presentation slides at BERA annual conferences by Miao and Reynolds (2014, 2015).

For a more detailed and global report of the EMT project, please see the book by Miao and Reynolds (2018, Routledge):

EMT Routledge Cover



Miao, Z., & Reynolds, D. (2014). The effectiveness of mathematics teaching: A cross-national investigation in primary schools in England and China. Paper presented at the Annual Conference of British Educational Research Association (BERA), London, GB, 23-25 Sep 2014.

Miao, Z., & Reynolds, D. (2015). Uncovering classroom-level factors for the performance gap in mathematics between England and China: a synthesis of results and findings from an international teacher effectiveness study. Paper presented at the Annual Conference of British Educational Research Association (BERA), Belfast, GB, 15-17 Sep 2015.

Miao, Z., & Reynolds, D. (2018). The effectiveness of mathematics teaching in primary schools: Lessons from England and China. London and New York: Routledge.