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School of Education

Staff Profile

Prof Adrian Simpson

Principal, Josephine Butler College in the School of Education
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 33 48340

Contact Prof Adrian Simpson (email at


Adrian Simpson is Principal of Durham’s newest college, Josephine Butler College. He is also Professor in the School of Education.

Research Interests
Adrian’s research interests revolve around aspects related with the school-university transition in mathematics, particularly in how students come to understand the nature of formal argumentation in university mathematics and different ways in which students understand abstract mathematical structures. In recent years, he has become increasingly interested in ideas in cognitive psychology about abstract and contextual reasoning as well as patterns of assesment in higher education (and in university mathematics in particular).


Working with Mathematics in Education and Industry to develop Teaching Advanced Mathematics

Information for prospective doctoral research student supervisions

Adrian is interested in supervising doctoral research studies in any area of mathematics education. He has previously supervised students on postgraduate studies in mathematical reasoning, cognition, proof and argumentation, the school-university transition, students' understanding of key advanced mathematical concepts (such as analysis, algebra, trigonometry and logic). In addition he is interested in supervising doctoral studies in assessment in higher education.

Indicators of Esteem

  • 2014: Editor: Research in Mathematics Education
  • 2013: Editorial Board Member: Editoral Board member, Research in Mathematics Education
  • 2013: External Docen Supervisor: External Docen Supervisor, Charles University, Prague 2011-12; External Doctoral Supervisor, University of Grenada 2013
  • 2013: External Examiner 2007-2013: Undergraduate mathematics education, Leeds University, 2007-11 MSc (Mathematics Education), Leeds University, 2009-12 MSc (Science Education), Leeds University, 2010-12 PhD (Mathematics Education), Loughborough University, 2013
  • 2013: Keynote speeches:

    Keynote speaker at:

    Delta 2013 conference, Kiama, Australia

    RUME 2010 conference, Raleigh, NC, USA

  • Reviewer: Reviewing: Journal for Research in Mathematics Education; Educational Studies in Mathematics; Research in Mathematics Education; European Journal of Psychology of Education; International Journal of Science and Mathematics Education; Handbook of International Research in Mathematics Education; Journal of Mathematics Behavior; Mathematical Thinking and Learning;

Research Interests

  • Assessment in Higher Education
  • Mathematics Education
  • Psychology of Reasoning

Research Groups

Research Projects

Selected Publications

Journal Article

Authored book

Chapter in book

  • Iannone, P. & Simpson, A. (2015). Teaching and Learning Mathematics and Statistics. In A Handbook for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education. Fry, H., Ketteridge, S. & Marshall, S. Abingdon: Routledge.
  • Ianone, P. & Simpson, A. (2012). A survey of current assessment practices. In Mapping university mathematics assessment practices. Iannone, P. & Simpson, A. Norwich: HEA.
  • Iannone, P. & Simpson, A. (2012). Performance assessment in mathematics: Preliminary empirical research. In Mapping university mathematics assessment practices. Iannone, P. & Simpson, A. Norwich: HEA.

Edited book

  • Iannone, P. & Simpson, A. (2012). Mapping University Mathematics Assessment Practices. Norwich: HEA.

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