ICCAMS investigates ways of raising students’ attainment and engagement by using formative assessment to inform teaching and learning of mathematics in secondary school.
The ICCAMS project was originally funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) from 2008 until 2012. Over these four years, and working collaboratively with a group of teachers, the ICCAMS team developed and evaluated a series of research-informed lessons and professional development activities that enable teachers to integrate formative assessment within the secondary mathematics curriculum. The project also conducted a large nationally representative survey examining the understandings and attitudes of current students across Key Stage 3 in England.
In the new ICCAMS2 project, led by Professor Jeremy Hodgen and funded by the Education Endowment Foundation, the ICCAMS team will assess the effects of the ICCAMS intervention when delivered at distance through another institution via a cluster randomised controlled trial. In addition, it will also focus its attention on addressing the mathematical learning needs of low-attaining students and those experiencing particular difficulties in algebra and multiplicative reasoning.
The team at The University of Nottingham is currently developing the existing ICCAMS materials and creating a two-year CPD package consisting of 9 days of training and support in between. Once these are finalised, we will work with the Durham University to deliver an “effectiveness trial” of a scalable model involving 110 schools. The trial will be independently evaluated by a team of researchers from the University of Manchester.
ICCAMS is also currently participating in a follow-on study in Scotland, Improving Children’s Mathematical Reasoning, in which Jeremy Hodgen will be collaborating with Helen Martin at Aberdeen University. The project is funded by the Carnegie Trust. ICCAMS is also participating in a related project in South Africa, Wits Maths Connect Secondary.
The initial ICCAMS project was based at King’s College London and funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) from 2008 until 2012. In its first phase, it proposed to investigate ways of raising students’ attainment and engagement by using formative assessment to inform teaching and learning of algebra and multiplicative reasoning in Key Stage 3 mathematics.
This initial intervention (ICCAMS 1) comprised of three phases.
• In a first phase, the ICCAMS 1 team conducted a large longitudinal national survey of around 7,000 Year 9 students examining the understandings and attitudes of current students using tests first developed in the 1970s under the framework of Concepts in Secondary Mathematics and Science (CSMS). These tests allowed the ICCAMS team to compare current students’ understandings of algebra and multiplicative reasoning with similar findings from the 1970s and provided evidence of a decline in students’ understanding in these areas (for more on the survey and its results, see our Publication page).
• In response, and working collaboratively with a group of teachers, the ICCAMS 1 team suggested a new approach focused on specific topics and using formative assessments, which led to the development of a series of research-informed lessons and professional development activities that enabled teachers to integrate formative assessment and feedback within the secondary mathematics curriculum. This new approach comprised of 40 lesson plans, 20 associated assessment pre-tasks and an extensive teacher professional development programme. Activities in the lessons are set in realistic contexts which require pupils to make use of visual representations and collaborative work. This intervention was designed to be delivered over one academic year.
• In the third and final phase of ICCAMS 1, these lesson plans, assessment pre-tasks and professional development materials were evaluated through an intervention study with a group of Year 8 students in a wide group of schools. This intervention study showcased evidence of improvement in the intervention group’s scores, which translated to a gain in attainment equivalent to about two years’ normal progress in one year.
It is these positive results which have prompted the development of a second step in the ICCAMS project (ICCAMS 2), a wide-scale trial of the ICCAMS intervention. For more information on the current state of the project, visit the Our Approach page or go directly to the Teachers Resources page
Principal investigator: Professor Jeremy Hodgen
The CSMS tests and teacher’s guides are available for download in the form of scans from the Chelsea Diagnostic Mathematics Tests published by NFER-Nelson in 1985.