Mechanisms Affecting the Sustainability and Scale-up of a System-wide Numeracy Reform

Janette Bobis


With deliberate system-level reform now being acted upon around the world, both
successful and unsuccessful cases provide a rich source of knowledge from which we
can learn to improve large-scale reform. Research surrounding the effectiveness of a
theory-based system-wide numeracy reform operating in primary schools across
Australia is examined to extract the elements most influential for the sustainability
and scaling-up of this reform. The evidence suggests that key mechanisms or tools
such as a framework in number and diagnostic interview, alongside a focus on deep
understanding in teachers of children’s mathematical thinking strategies and the
strategic placement of support structures at various levels of program
implementation are important elements for the sustainability and scale-up of this
program. This article introduces the professional development program in question,
presents an overview of three research studies, and then links their findings to
Coburn’s (2003) multi-dimensional conceptualisation of scale.


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