Submit a Manuscript to the Journal

Research in Mathematics Education

For a Special Issue on

Mathematics Education and Policy

Abstract deadline
31 July 2024

Manuscript deadline
13 January 2025

Cover image - Research in Mathematics Education

Special Issue Editor(s)

Mark Boylan, Sheffield Hallam University
[email protected]

Gill Adams, Sheffield Hallam University
[email protected]

Laurie Jacques, University College London
[email protected]

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Mathematics Education and Policy

Background and Rationale

Policy is important to mathematics education and mathematics education research. Political interest in pedagogy and assessment shapes mathematics education, an area of considerable or even critical policy interest (Hoyles & Ferrini-Mundy, 2013). So policy shapes practice. Conversely, mathematics education is also important to shaping education policy, with changes in mathematics education often leading to wider changes in curriculum and assessment, for example in the development of digital technology (Trouche et al., 2012) 

The relationship between mathematics education and policy is important internationally. For example, in the USA, debates about mathematics curriculum and teaching have at times been highly charged, sometimes referred to as the math wars (Shoenfeld, 2004). Mathematics is one of the benchmark subjects used in international comparative tests such as PISA and TIMMS, with the OECD also influencing policy (Kadijevich et al., 2023). Mathematics education in England benefits from political interest leading to funding for professional development, with recent examples being financial support for the National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics and Maths Hub network and the Advanced Mathematics Support Programme. Additionally, because of mathematics’ importance in key educational indicators, there is greater access to funding for research on mathematics education classroom practice than other subjects - for example, through the Education Endowment Foundation. 

The nature of the relationship varies considerably from country to country between mathematics education and mathematics education research on the one side and policy on the other. This often reflects broader relationships between policy and educational research. There are examples of relatively close relationships, for example, in Singapore, where the National Institute of Education acts as an intermediary between research, practice, and policy (see  Kaur et al., 2023). In England, conversely, the relationship is more complicated with various intermediaries through which policy directly and indirectly shapes mathematics education (Lerman, 2012). Recent developments suggest that, arguably, mathematics education suffers from the implementation of ‘policy-based evidence’ (Strassheim & Kettunen, 2014); an example being a research review by the inspection service Ofsted (Ofsted, 2021). Further, the policy-mathematics education relationship varies across different dimensions such as curriculum, pedagogy, research, and educational phase and also changes over time reflecting policy changes (see Prytz 2021 for examples from Sweden over 60 years).

Given the importance and complexity of the mathematics education and policy relationship, it is surprising that research and scholarship in this area is relatively rare. Hodgen, Foster, and Brown (2022) provide a helpful summary of analyses of mathematics education policy in England, citing around 20 examples over a thirty-year period. Researchers in these cases take ‘policy’ itself as the object of study. However, there is much more research on enacted policy or where policy is important to the context. Therefore, to deepen understanding of practice, a more theorised understanding of the policy-mathematics education nexus is needed, including the relationship between mathematics education research and policy (Hoyles & Ferrini-Mundy, 2013). International research on mathematics education and policy has recently gathered interest because of the challenges of scaling up the results of mathematics education studies and the relationship of this to policy (e.g., Krainer, 2021; Prytz, 2021). There is also a need for more critical research on mathematics education and policies in general (e.g., Han et al., 2023).


Aims and Scope

The editors of this Special Issue invite contributions that examine the relationship between mathematics education and policy.

Potential themes and topics include:

  • Historical policy reviews and analyses
  • Research on the enactment of mathematics education policy at system/national levels
  • Analyses of policy influences and drivers
  • The relationship between mathematics education research and policy
  • The scaling of mathematics education research to implementation in policy
  • Transnational mathematics education policy and comparative research comparing policy influences across different countries
  • Studies examining  relationships between mathematics educators and policy makers
  • Theoretical contributions examining the utility of policy theory and methodology to understanding the relationship of mathematics education and policy
  • Emerging priorities for future mathematics education research and policy debates



Han, C., Lee, Y., Lee, K. et al. (2023). Exploring stakeholders’ sensemaking of the STEA“M” education policy in South Korea. ZDM- Mathematics Education.

Hodgen, J., Foster, C., & Brown, M. (2022). Low attainment in mathematics: An analysis of 60 years of policy discourse in England. The Curriculum Journal, 33(1), 5-24.

Hoyles, C. & Ferrini-Mundy, J. (2013.)  Policy Implications of Developing Mathematics Education Research in M. A. (Ken) Clements et al. (Eds.), Third International Handbook of Mathematics Education, 485 Springer International Handbooks of Education 27, DOI 10.1007/978-1-4614-4684-2_16.

Kadijevich, D. M., Stephens, M., Solares-Rojas, A., & Guberman, R. (2023). Impacts of TIMSS and PISA on Mathematics Curriculum Reforms. In Y. Shimizu & R. Vithal (Eds.) Mathematics Curriculum Reforms Around the World: The 24th ICMI Study (pp. 359-374). Springer International Publishing.

Kaur, B., Toh, T. L., & Tay, E. G. (2023). The evolution of mathematics education research in Singapore. In Asian Research in Mathematics Education: Mapping the Field (pp. 43-65). Singapore: Springer Nature Singapore.

Krainer, K. (2021). Implementation as interaction of research, practice and policy. Considerations from the Austrian initiative IMST. ZDM - Mathematics Education, 53(5).

Lerman, S. (2014). Mapping the effects of policy on mathematics teacher education. Educational Studies in Mathematics, 87(2), 187-201.

Ofsted (2021). Research review series: mathematics. A review of research into factors that influence the quality of mathematics education in schools in England.

Prytz, J. (2021). When research met policy: A history of innovation and a complicated relationship in three Swedish development projects in mathematics education, ZDM – Mathematics Education, 53(95) 1960–2018.

Schoenfeld, A. H. (2004). The math wars. Educational policy, 18(1), 253-286.

Strassheim, H., & Kettunen, P. (2014). When does evidence-based policy turn into policy-based evidence? Configurations, contexts and mechanisms. Evidence & Policy, 10(2), 259-277.

Trouche, L., Drijvers, P., Gueudet, G., & Sacristan, A. I. (2012). Technology-driven developments and policy implications for mathematics education. In Third International Handbook of Mathematics Education (pp. 753-789). New York, NY: Springer New York. 

Submission Instructions

Word limits

In addition to full research papers (7,000-8,000 words), the editors welcome shorter reports on specific mathematics education policies or national examples of  mathematics education policy issues relevant to the themes and topics.


Special instructions

We invite submission of proposed titles and 400-500 word extended abstracts

Please submit abstracts (400-500 words) by email to [email protected] by 31 July 2024. Include the names and affiliations of all authors.



31 July 2024 Submission deadline for abstracts & titles

23 August 2024 Decisions on abstracts and invitations for full papers

13 January 2025 Submission of first drafts

31 March 2025 Reviewer feedback

31 July 2025 Submission of revisions

30 September 2025 Reviewer feedback

30 November 2025 Final revisions

April 2026 SI finalised

June 2026 Publication

Please note that any proposed papers that are invited for full submission will be subject to usual review processes.

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