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The Principal of Josephine Butler College +44 (0) 191 33 47261
Professor, Principal of Josephine Butler College in the School of EducationJ. Butler College+44 (0) 191 33 48340


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.

Research interests

  • Mathematics Education
  • Assessment in Higher Education
  • Psychology of Reasoning
  • Evidence in educational research

Research Projects

  • MU-Map - Mapping University Mathematics
  • Pedagogical Application of New Developments and Approaches

Awarded Grants

  • 2016: PANDA Pedagogical Application of New Developments and Approaches(£23625.00 from Hermitage Academy)
  • 2016: Panda Pedagogical Application Of New Developments And Approaches(£17000.00 from )
  • 2013: Artist in Residence - Mr Richard W Hardwick(£14970.00 from The Leverhulme Trust)
  • 2011: MU-MAP: Mapping University Mathematics Assessment Practices(£2310.00 from National HE Stem Programme)

Esteem Indicators

  • 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;


Authored book

Chapter in book

  • Iannone, P. & Simpson, A. (2019). Mathematics and Statistics. In A Handbook for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education: Enhancing Academic Practice. Marshall, S. Abingdon: Abingdon: Routledge.
  • Iannone, P. & Simpson, A. (2019). The Relation between Mathematics Students’ Discipline-Based Epistemological Beliefs and their Summative Assessment Preferences. In International Journal of Research in Undergraduate. Springer. 1-16.
  • 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.
  • Iannone, P. & Simpson, A. (2012). Performance assessment in mathematics: Preliminary empirical research. In Mapping university mathematics assessment practices. Iannone, P. & Simpson, A. Norwich: HEA.
  • Ianone, P. & Simpson, A. (2012). A survey of current assessment practices. In Mapping university mathematics assessment practices. Iannone, P. & Simpson, A. Norwich: HEA.
  • Duffin, J. & Simpson, A. (2006). The transition to independent graduate studies in mathematics. In Research in Collegiate Mathematics Education VI. Selden, Annie, Hitt, Fernando, Harel, Guershon & Hauk, Shandy Conference Board of Mathematical Sciences. 6: 233-246.
  • Duffin, J. & Simpson, A. (2002). Understanding their Thinking: the tension between the Cognitive and the Affective. In Perspectives on adults learning mathematics. Coben, D., John, O. & Fitzsimons, G Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers. 83-99.
  • Alcock, L. & Simpson, A. (2002). The Warwick analysis project: practice and theory. In The Teaching and Learning of Mathematics at the University Level. Holton, D. Springer: Dordrecht. 99-111.
  • Houston, K., Rogers, P. & Simpson, A. (1999). Teaching mathematics as a way of life. In Improving Student Learning through the Disciplines. Rust, C. Oxford: OCSLD.

Edited book

Journal Article

Supervision students