Educational triage and setting in primary mathematics: a case-study


As of July 2018 University of Brighton Repository is no longer updated. Please see our new repository at

Marks, Rachel (2014) Educational triage and setting in primary mathematics: a case-study Research in Mathematics Education, 16 (1). pp. 38-53. ISSN 1479-4802

Marks, Educational Triage and Ability-Grouping in Primary Mathematics.pdf - Accepted Version

Download (326kB) | Preview


This case-study, drawing on an unanticipated theme arising from a wider study of ability-grouping in primary mathematics, documents some of the consequences of educational triage in the final year of one primary school. The paper discusses how a process of educational triage, as a response to accountability pressures, is justified by teachers on the basis of shared theories about ability and potential. Attainment gains show that some practices associated with the triaging process work for the school, pushing selected pupils to achieve the Government target for the end of primary school. However, other practices appear to coincide with reduced mathematical gains for the lowest attaining pupils and a widening of the attainment gap. This case-study examines the mechanisms behind this, focusing on resource allocation, and assumptions about learners and their potential. The paper suggests a need to create dissonance, challenging shared assumptions, such as fixed-ability, which currently support triage processes.

Item Type: Journal article
Additional Information: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Research in Mathematics Education, 2014, available online:
Uncontrolled Keywords: ability-grouping; educational triage; primary mathematics
Subjects: X000 Education > X500 National Curriculum > X510i Mathematics Education
DOI (a stable link to the resource): 10.1080/14794802.2013.874095
Depositing User: Converis
Date Deposited: 26 Aug 2015 03:01
Last Modified: 26 Aug 2015 08:02

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year