Scaffolding numeracy in the middle years: Project background

The Scaffolding numeracy in the middle years 2003-2006 (SNMY) was an Australian Research Council Linkage Project awarded to RMIT University, the Victorian Department of Education and Training and the Tasmanian Education Department from July 2003 to June 2006.

The project investigated the efficacy of a new assessment-guided approach to improving student numeracy outcomes in Years 4 to 8. In particular, it was aimed at identifying and refining a learning and assessment framework for the development of multiplicative thinking at this level using rich assessment tasks.

Research questions

A summary of the key research questions within the SNMY project and an overview of the significance of multiplicative thinking, authentic tasks and the middle years as defining aspects of the research.


Outlines the three main phases in the research methodology and the describes the involvement of school clusters and teacher involvement in Victoria and Tasmania. Includes links to relevant technical reports and presentations in the Resource Library.

Project outcomes

This comparative table provides a summary of the project outcomes with the results in a nutshell, listed alongside the research questions.

Research and acknowledgements

A project such as this cannot be undertaken or completed without the dedicated commitment of a large number of people. The RMIT University research team would like to acknowledge the invaluable contribution of the industry partners, the Victorian Department of Education and Training and the Tasmanian Department of Education, and the very special effort made by all the schools who participated in the project.

In particular, they would like to thank the Cluster Leaders, school contact people, and the participating teachers who were asked to undertake a range of activities in addition to their busy work load, and the enthusiastic and very competent team of support people who helped carry the workload at critical times.

RMIT University research team

  • Professor Dianne Siemon (Team Leader)
  • Adjunct Professors John Izard and Max Stephens
  • Dr Shelley Dole
  • Mrs Margarita Breed (Australian Postgraduate Award Industry scholarship recipient)
  • Ms Jo Virgona (Senior Research Officer)
  • and support team.

The research and reference schools

  • Albanvale Primary School
  • Bethanga Primary School
  • Blackmans Bay Primary School
  • Brunswick East Primary School
  • Brunswick North Primary School
  • Brunswick North West Primary School
  • Brunswick Secondary College
  • Brunswick South West Primary School
  • Cann River P-12 College
  • Caroline Springs P-12 College
  • Coburg West Primary School
  • Deer Park North Primary School
  • Deer Park Primary School
  • Deer Park Secondary College
  • Deer Park West Primary School
  • Eskdale Primary School
  • Geilston Bay High School
  • Goongerah P-8 College
  • Kiewa Valley Primary School
  • Kingston High School
  • Kingston Primary School
  • Lindisfarne North Primary School
  • Lindisfarne Primary School
  • Mallacoota P-12 College
  • Margate Primary School
  • Marlo Primary School
  • Mitta Mitta Primary School
  • Montagu Bay Primary School
  • Moreland Primary School
  • Newmerella Primary School
  • Orbost North Primary School
  • Orbost Primary School
  • Orbost Secondary College
  • Risdonvale Primary School
  • St Joseph's Primary School
  • Sydney Road Community School
  • Talgarno Primary School
  • Tallangatta Primary School
  • Tallangatta Secondary College
  • Tubutt Primary School.