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Details for publication #42:

2008 - Working paper

Transition into post-compulsory (mathematics) education
Williams, J., Hernandez-Martinez, P., Black, L., Davis, P., Pampaka, M. & Wake, G.

Previous work on transition between institutions suggests transitional problems can be dangerous for individual learners? progress. Drawing on the literature, and on our CHAT perspective, we anticipated that transition points would be significant to students narrative construction of their (mathematical) subjectivity/identity, i.e. that they would offer troubling moments. In this working paper we draw on and analyse cross-sectionally the interviews of project students regarding their (post hoc) experience of transition into 6th form or FE College programmes (and some teachers data form case study interviews and observations). We find that for many students transition is recalled as a key moment, when trouble with the 'step up' in demand was experienced at the same time as social, intellectual and emotional challenges were being posed (by the need to re-construct a peer group, be the increased autonomy of the expected work, and by demands to be 'grown up'). However, we draw attention to significant positive features of students? accounts: most students tell of this as being an important learning and growing experience. Even in their learning of mathematics, a significant number of students tell of the new experience as being an improvement on secondary school: they tend to say they understand more and that the work is better. Thus the 'transition? is widely seen as a growth point rather than a problem (at least after the event). We discuss some general implications for conceptualising 'transition' and identity.

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