Learning Sciences Institute Australia

Is Maths for me? Understanding and promoting disadvantaged students' academic aspirations for Mathematics


Mathematics education is crucial for individual life chances and national competitiveness. To arrest declining participation in Mathematics among disadvantaged students, this project will produce new empirical knowledge to inform the development of effective schooling practices that raise disadvantaged students’ academic aspirations in Mathematics.


  • ARC Discovery Grant, $349,000



Industry partners

  • Selected Queensland state high schools

Research problem

  1. What are the contextual influences and processes that have contributed to the under-representation of disadvantaged students in Advanced Mathematics in the senior secondary years?
  2. How do multiple contextual influences affect motivation and learning of disadvantaged students who intend to drop, or continue learning, Advanced Mathematics in the senior secondary years?
  3. How are disadvantaged students’ academic aspirations and decisions shaped by the dynamic interplay of complex personal and sociocultural factors and processes during early secondary and senior secondary periods prior to the decision point in Year 10 and Year 12 respectively?
  4. What are effective practices that promote sustained interest and engagement and improve enrolment in Advanced Mathematics throughout the secondary years among disadvantaged students? Why do they work within specific contexts for disadvantaged students?