If you made any changes in Pure these will be visible here soon.

Personal profile

Scholarly biography

Dr Rachel Marks is a Principal Lecturer in Mathematics Education (Primary) and Assistant Programme Leader for the PGCE Primary/PGCE 3-7 programmes. She teaches across the BA, PGCE, MA and EdD programmes in mathematics education and education research. She is a qualified primary teacher and has previously taught in inner-city and rural primary schools for five years.


Rachel completed her ESRC-funded PhD thesis on ability grouping in the primary mathematics classroom in 2012 and her book ‘Ability-Grouping in Primary Schools: Case Studies and Critical Debates’ was published in February 2016. She has worked on a diverse range of research projects within mathematics education including an international study into high-performing jurisdictions for the Nuffield Foundation, and a review of the international evidence into best-practice for improving mathematics teaching in Key Stages 2 & 3 for the Education Endowment Foundation. She is currently engaged in a research review of BSRLM Conference Proceedings (2003-2017) and an exploration of strategies to support NQTs in working with a mastery approach in mathematics.

Supervisory Interests

My supervisory interests include teaching and learning in primary schools, particularly in primary and early years mathematics. I am also interested in the social context of schooling, policy and assessment, including interests related to ability-grouping and equity issues. I am interested in supervising projects involving mixed methods approaches as well as large-scale literature reviews including meta-analyses.

Approach to teaching

I teach across a number of programmes within the School of Education, contributing to teaching on the following modules:

  • EdD Stage 1 & 2: Teaching (data analysis) and PDA/supervision
  • KV733: Developing a practice-based education research proposal
  • KV742: Professional learning through enquiry
  • KV741: Critical perspectives on education
  • KV712: Designing your research proposal
  • EP781 / EP782: The Professional Enquiry
  • EP782: PGCE Primary Professional Knowledge and Enquiry (Maths)
  • EM609 (BA Primary Subject Study and Specialist Mathematics): The Nature and Learning of Mathematics
  • EM602 (BA Primary 3-7 route): Year 3 Mathematics Curriculum Studies
  • EM603: (BA Primary 5-11 route): Year 3 Mathematics Curriculum Studies


My aim is to engage all students in current thinking in education as they develop as critically reflective practitioners. Across my teaching – which includes mature students, recent school leavers and workplace learners – I employ a variety of inclusive approaches with a strong focus on discussion. Much of my teaching draws on my experience as a classroom teacher and as an educational researcher, supporting students in engaging with up-to-date educational theory, policy and practice. My approach – particularly to mathematics teaching – is highly interactive and I expect all students to make full use of the opportunity to explore different representations available to them as they develop as confident and competent teachers of mathematics.

Research interests

My research interests include teaching and learning in primary mathematics, the social context of schooling, policy and assessment. My particular interests are in ability-grouping and equity issues.


Current Research Activity

  • Principal Investigator: Examining newly qualified teachers’ use of textbooks to support a mastery approach to mathematics teaching in the primary school: a case-study.

  • Principal Investigator: Research review of the British Society for Research into Learning Mathematics [BSRLM] Conference Proceedings (2003-2017)
  • A meta-analysis of the use of number-lines in mathematics teaching & learning (with colleagues from UCL IoE, Leicester and Cardiff universities).
  • I am involved with the Learning without Limits Network at Cambridge University exploring approaches to education (across sectors) which reject notions of fixed ‘ability’.
  • I presented work on teacher mindset following on from earlier research at a BERA Symposium (Leeds, 2016) and am currently pursuing avenues to extend this.


Previous research projects

  • Co-authored review of international evidence for the Education Endowment Foundation review: Improving Mathematics in Key Stages Two and Three: Guidance Report.
  • Nursing students' experiences of learning numeracy for professional practice: A joint project with King’s College London exploring the numeracy training of student nurses, published in Adults Learning Mathematics - An International Journal.
  • The Employment Equation: Why our young people need more maths for today’s jobs. A literature review of the mathematical requirements of employers today (2013) Sponsor: The Sutton Trust (Joint Investigator).
  • Towards universal participation in post-16 mathematics: lessons from high performing countries.
  • An investigation into the factors related to high levels of participation in post-16 mathematics in countries performing highly in international comparisons, and their implications for the UK (2012-2013) - Sponsor: The Nuffield Foundation (Joint Investigator)



Knowledge exchange

  • Executive Board Member and Membership Secretary, British Society for Research into Learning Mathematics (BSRLM) (2015 – 2018)

  • Vice-chair of the Editorial Board for FORUM journal (for promoting 3-19 comprehensive education)

  • Book reviews editor for FORUM journal (for promoting 3-19 comprehensive education)


  • LB1501 Primary Education
  • Mathematics education
  • Early Years mathematics
  • Assessment
  • Literature review

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics where Rachel Marks is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • 83 Similar Profiles

Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Research Output

  • Open Access
  • Research Review of BSRLM 2003-2017

    Marks, R., Barclay, N., Barnes, A. & Treacy, P., 1 Feb 2019, BSRLM. 51 p.

    Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report

    Open Access
  • Better beginnings: an early years special issue

    Marks, R. & Yarker, P., 2 Nov 2018, 4 p. Symposium Books.

    Research output: Other contribution

    Open Access

    Improving mathematics in key stages two and three: evidence review

    Hodgen, J., Foster, C., Marks, R. & Brown, M., 22 Mar 2018, Education Endowment Foundation. 204 p.

    Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report

    Open Access