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 chairs the School of Education Tier 1 School Research Ethics Panel (SREP) leading a panel in assessing applications and advising on ethics across the School. Rachel also sits on the Social Science Cross-School Research Ethics Committee (Tier 2).


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 reviews of the international evidence into best-practice for improving mathematics teaching in Key Stages 2 & 3 and in Early Year and Key Stage 1, both for the Education Endowment Foundation. She has recently completed 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
  • KV712: Designing your research proposal
  • KV741: Critical perspectives on education
  • KV713: Research project
  • EP722: The Professional Enquiry
  • EP720 / EP721: The literature review
  • EP720: PGCE Primary Professional Knowledge and Enquiry (Maths)
  • EM617: (BA Primary Subject Study and Specialist Mathematics): Contemporary issues in mathematics education


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

  • Co-authored review of international evidence for the Education Endowment Foundation review: Improving Mathematics in the Early Years and Key Stage 1: Evidence Review.

  • 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

  • Principal Investigator: Research review of the British Society for Research into Learning Mathematics [BSRLM] Conference Proceedings (2003-2017)
  • Principal Investigator: Examining newly qualified teachers’ use of textbooks to support a mastery approach to mathematics teaching in the primary school: a case-study.
  • 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 Publications Officer, British Society for Research into Learning Mathematics (BSRLM) (2020 – 2023)

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

  • Co-convenor of the Early Years and Primary Mathematics Working Group [BSRLM]
  • Book reviews editor for FORUM journal (for promoting 3-19 comprehensive education)


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


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.
  • 12 Similar Profiles


Recent external collaboration on country/territory level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots or