Greetings from CERME11 conference

By Jokke Häsä and Juuso Nieminen

Domkerk interior

Preparing for the opening ceremony in the Domkerk

In the beginning of February, the 11th Congress of the European Society for Research in Mathematics Education (CERME11) was held in Utrecht, Holland. There were two representatives from our department, myself and Juuso Nieminen, and a few more from the Department of Education.

It was quite a surprise to find that the main conference venue was St. Martin’s Cathedral! As grandiose as the premises were, it was rather cold inside and from time to time it was difficult to hear the keynote speakers because of the echo. However, it was an amazing experience, and fortunately all the small group presentations were held in different locations throughout the beautiful small city.

CERME has a very inclusive reputation, and there were around 900 participants from all fields of mathematics education. The conference has been expanding rapidly during the last couple of years. The participants were divided into so-called Thematic Working Groups (TWGs), and everyone stayed with their group throughout the conference.

Pub cat

The pub cat at Oudaen restaurant and brewery

Juuso and I gave presentations in different TWGs. The theme in my group was assessment. We discussed, for example, the growing role of automatic assessment, validity questions of national examinations and the need for more articulated theoretical frameworks for formative assessment in mathematics. Juuso was in the diversity group, where mathematics education was placed in the wider context of culture, society and the political. The TWG especially addressed teaching mathematics to a diversity of students, taking into account the social and cultural aspects.

Conference dinner

Conference dinner was held in the Railway Museum

My presentation (written together with Johanna Rämö and Viivi Virtanen) dealt with validity issues concerning the new digital self-assessment model (DISA) used, for example, in our linear algebra courses. Juuso talked about Universal Design in the context of mathematics; it is a framework for building learning environments to address the needs of student diversity. This frame is often used in relation to learning disabilities. Both papers will appear in the conference proceedings shortly.

The conference paraded a very enjoyable and inclusive collegial atmosphere. It was a huge pleasure to meet old colleagues and make new acquaintances, discussing everything about mathematics education from policy making and cultural impacts to everyday classroom activities and decisions. And all in the wonderful city of Utrecht, by the cathedral and canals and the slowly emerging spring.

Read more: CERME11 in the TUHAT database