Supporting mathematics and science teachers in addressing diversity and promoting fundamental values

Are mathematics and science really neutral? Are they culturally independent? No, they are not! If we want to decide on whether measles vaccination should be obligatory or not, this decision is not only influenced by facts from natural sciences but also by ethical and moral values and by parents’ autonomy on deciding for their child. Different cultures use science differently and advance  science and mathematics through the cultural lense of their researchers and experts.

The EU funded project MaSDiV (Supporting mathematics and science teachers in addressing diversity and promoting fundamental values) supports maths and science teachers to:

  • Modul 1: Addressing different achievement levels
  • Modul 2: Contexts to enhance active citizenship
  • Modul 3: Multicultural settings

What is MaSDiV?

Supporting mathematics and science teachers in addressing diversity and promoting fundamental values (MaSDiV) is a EU funded project that aims to support maths and science teachers in accommodating cultural, socioeconomic and performance related diversity in their classrooms. Central to this project is the inclusion of the social and intercultural dimensions in maths and science classes. Teachers shall be equipped to foster students’ understanding of fundamental values of our society through maths and science lessons.

The MaSDiV Professional Development course, which was developed during the project, includes innovative teaching approaches and links inquiry-based learning with the influence of culture and fundamental values. They create inclusive class environments and help to enhance the achievement levels of all students. By applying these approaches, teachers can actively support their students in the process of becoming well-informed and critically-reflected citizens.

Project Poster


Why is the project essential?

Science and mathematics are vital prerequisites for active participation in society and belong to the eight key competences (EU framework for key competences, EC 2007). However, across the EU, 17% of 15-year-olds underachieve in science. In mathematics, that figure rises to 22% – and even to 36.6 % among students with low socioeconomic status (ET 2020). 13.7 million young people – those with migration backgrounds are particularly concerned here – are not in employment, education or training (Youth Report 2015). These young people are less involved in social and political life, and at risk of exclusion and marginalisation (ibid.), which in turn is a risk to our societies. Increased migration enhances the need for inclusive education that promotes learning in groups with different competence levels and cultural backgrounds and ‘disadvantaged’ students (see also Eurydice 2016).

Science also has social, cultural and ethical dimensions (e.g. the decision for or against genetic engineering in agriculture in developing countries). Therefore, science learning should be used to promote cultural awareness, critical thinking, decision making and consequently, social and civic competences (EC 2007). However, conventionally, science education has focused on the ‘learning of science’ (Hazelkorn et al. 2015). This means pure science detached from societal implications, as opposed to learning ‘of and about science’. The latter fosters young peoples’ understanding of the nature, applications and implications of science and thus, they learn principles and competences vital in democratic, pluralistic and increasingly multi-cultural European societies. In this sense, science education is also citizenship education as envisaged by the Paris declaration 2015 and in the European Education and Training 2020 program.

Delivering inclusive mathematics and science education linked to citizenship education and intercultural learning is, however, not a trivial task. Consequently teachers need support (EU-WG MST 2013, EU-WG PD 2013, Arjomand et al. 2013). Here, we find shortcomings in Europe. Experts have marked out a need to substantially improve the quality of STEM PD offers (Hazelkorn et al. 2015) and mismatches exist between teachers’ expressed need for training in suitable approaches and the course offerings available (Eurydice 2015).

A lack of adequate PD offers and an increased need for inclusive STEM education approaches (due to increased diversity in classrooms) concerns all European countries. In many European nations, policy has recently recognised the need to better support science teachers in dealing with the above named challenges in science education. MaSDiV’s measure provides an approach suitable to jointly address these challenges.


What are the activities of the project?

The concrete measures of MaSDiV are the development, the evaluation and the dissemination of an innovative professional development course for teachers, who are teaching at secondary schools. The project includes three phases:


Phase 1 (March 2017 – February 2018): Development phase

Development of the professional development (PD) course, related PD materials and evaluation instruments, setting up European and national dissemination plans based on stakeholder analysis, monitoring grid, starting dissemination according to the European and national dissemination plans.


Phase 2 (March 2018 – February 2019): Phase of field trials

Implementation of PD course and data collection in all six partner countries, execution of dissemination plans, monitoring project activities


Phase 3 (March 2019 – February 2020): Phase of evaluation and optimisation

Carying out data evaluation leading to the final report, optimisation PD course based on evaluation results, monitoring project activities, carrying out dissemination activities with focus on upscaling and sustainability


How were the professional development courses evaluated?

A multi-method evaluation design reverting to both quantitative and qualitative data accompanied the policy measure and allowed for reliable and valid conclusions on the effects of our measure and routes to upscaling. In line with the aims of our policy measure, we measured effects on the development of teachers’ beliefs, their self-efficacy and knowledge of IBL as an approach to deliver inclusive education, promote citizenship education and intercultural learning. Furthermore, we evaluated how teachers actually use this approach in their lessons. In doing so, we reverted to a pre-post control group design and a case study.

To evaluate how teachers actually implement our teaching approach and what challenges they encounter, we applied a case study approach giving in-depth insight into selected teachers’ science teaching and their related considerations (N= 3 per country). In order to allow for comparability, we used the same methods in each country for data collection (collecting lesson plan, lesson observation followed by a semi-structured interview about the lesson and its objectives, students’ questionnaire to evaluate their acceptance). While the evaluation experts carried out analysis centrally, case studies were drafted in English at the local level to avoid problems due to language and then be analysed across cases centrally.


Who is involved in the project?

The project Consortium consists of 13 institutions. It is comprised of university-ministry tandems in six countries that will jointly develop and test the measure in 2017/2018. An ‘evaluation institution’ is in charge of a thorough evaluation of the measure. The project Coordinator is the International Centre for STEM Education (ICSE)

  • University of Education Freiburg, Germany (Project Coordinator)
  • Ministry for Education, Youth and Sports Baden-Wuerttemberg, Germany
  • University of Nicosia, Cyprus
  • Ministry of Education and Culture, Cyprus
  • University of Jaen, Spain
  • Ministry of Education and Vocational Training, Spain
  • University of Malta, Malta
  • Ministry of Education and Employment, Malta
  • Utrecht University, Netherlands
  • Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, Netherlands
  • Hacettepe University, Turkey
  • Turkish Ministry of National Education, Turkey
  • IPN – Leibniz Institute for Science and Mathematics Education at Kiel University, Germany (evaluation institution)


Via the European Impact Board further 5 University-Ministry tandems and experts/networks from European STEM education are linked to the project. They will support the dissemination, scaling-up and broad use of the measure across Europe after its positive evaluation.

  • Vilnius University, Lithuania
  • Education Development Centre (UPC) established by and acting under the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Lithuania
  • Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Norway
  • Ministry of Education and Research, Norway
  • University of Innsbruck, Austria
  • Federal Ministry of Education, Austria
  • University of Hradec Králové, Czech Republic
  • Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, Czech Republic
  • National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece
  • Agueda Gras-Velazquez, European School Net, Belgium
  • Dr. Manuela Welzel-Breuer, University of Education Heidelberg, Germany
  • Ruta Mazgelyte, Education Development Centre, Lithuania
  • Dr. Michele Artigue, Université Paris Diderot, France

Key data

Program: Erasmus+ Key Action 3, Initiatives for policy innovation – European policy experimentations in the fields of Education, Training and Youth led by high-level public authorities (Call: EACEA/34/2015), Priority ‘Promoting fundamental values through Education and Training addressing diversity in the learning environment’

Duration: 36 months (February 2017 – February 2020)

Grant awarded: EUR 2.5 Mio

Grant agreement number: 2016 – 2927 / 003 – 001

Project number: 582943-EPP-1-2016-2-DE-EPPKA3-PI-POLICY


National project websites


The MaSDiV teachers‘ professional development course provides an evidence-based approach to tackle current challenges in STEM education: the underachievement of particular student populations; linking science competences with social and civic competences and effectively supporting teachers as they face increasing social, cultural and competence-related diversity in their classrooms. It thus aims to support the teaching of science and mathematics in diverse and multicultural contexts for the benefit of all students, regardless of their cultural or socioeconomic background. We call this teaching approach “inclusive science education”.

The professional development course covers three interconnected modules. Each of the modules offers a set of activities and present inquiry-based learning (IBL) with a different emphasis:

  1. as an approach for addressing achievement-related diversity (module 1);
  2. in real-life, relevant contexts so as to promote fundamental values of our societies (module 2);
  3. as a tool for intercultural learning (module 3).

CC-BY-NC-SA 4.0 license is granted for all our materials. Please feel free to use and adapt them for non-commercial purposes. Make sure to give attribution to the original materials as well as for the adapted ones. Find explicit terms of use for CC-BY-NC-SA 4.0 at:

Please find more about the structure of the module as well as the modules themselves below.

About the course

By using the course materials you will secure that teachers (participants of the professional development course) will:

  • strengthen beliefs and self-efficacy about using inquiry based learning (IBL) in addressing diversity;
  • comprehend the relevance and implications of mathematics and science and promoting fundamental values, while taking into account cultural differences;
  • gain knowledge on ethical and cultural dimensions of mathematics and science;
  • acquire knowledge and understanding of the main challenges related to teaching in multicultural science and mathematics classrooms;
  • gain practical knowledge related to interventions in multicultural science and mathematics classrooms;
  • develop self-reflection in regard to inclusive science education

For each module an outline is available for the educator. It includes the specific aims, a description of the activities and homework and a list with references to literature. Presentations (ppt) and worksheets for participants are provided separately.




Course Manual

We suggest a specific teaching method for each activity, but these can be replaced by others. The ways of working with participants in the course reflects the ‘values’ and practices addressed in the course: inquiry, collaborative work and active learning are promoted in the activities. Participants will be inspired to use these methods with their students.

Please find detailed information in the course manual.

Download Course Manual



Module 1 – Achievement

The participants will be able to:

  • respond to heterogeneous student groups in natural science and math classes.
  • plan lessons that are mindful of competence-related diversity in classes.
  • re-design classroom materials into resources with IBL characteristics, in order to create learning environments that are inclusive of all students and address diverse achievement levels.
Download module description Download handout Download PPP

Module 2 – Contexts

The participants will:

  • understand the value of using contexts in IBL tasks in science and mathematics to support the learning process by making connections between context and concepts and apply this in classroom teaching.
  • be able to find and use real-life, relevant contexts for IBL in daily science and mathematics teaching.
  • enable students to apply science and mathematics in real life contexts.
  • understand how real-life relevant contexts (e.g. genetic engineering, climate change, oil drilling) and scientific and moral reasoning can promote fundamental values of our societies and apply this in classroom teaching.
  • understand how the use of contexts in science and mathematics IBL tasks can support inclusive education and intercultural learning and apply this in classroom teaching.
  • understand the nature, applications and implications of science and mathematics for societies.
  • make students understand that scientific decisions based on science/mathematics are also influenced by moral, ethical and social reasons.


Download module description Download PPP

Module 3 – Intercultural Learning

The participants will:

  • acquire knowledge and understanding of cultural diversity and social inclusion in science and mathematics education, focusing on schools and the classroom.
  • acquire knowledge and understanding of the main challenges related to teaching in multicultural classrooms, such as creating an inclusive classroom culture.
  • be able to recognize and use opportunities to include culture-related aspects in science and mathematics teaching and dealing with controversial issues (dilemmas).
  • gain skills to apply the course knowledge into a practical knowledge related to interventions in multicultural classrooms.
  • become reflexive of their own normative position and values in relation to cultural diversity.
  • learn how IBL can support students by taking into account their various cultural backgrounds.
  • learn how to use IBL to promote students’ intercultural competences by using realistic relevant contexts situated in different cultures.
Download module description Download PPP

The creation of these resources has been funded with the support of the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union under grant no. 2016 – 2927 / 003 – 001. The European Union/European Commission is neither responsible for the content nor liable for any losses or damage resulting of the use of these resources.

We offer not only the Professional Development Course, but also a rich set of exemplary classroom materials for immediate use for students, teachers and teacher trainers. Description of each task includes information about the content and gives suggestions for implementation.

Feel free draw the examples from our classroom materials repository clicking here and use them in your own classroom, or your teacher training course. CC-BY-NC-SA 4.0 license is granted for all our materials. Please feel free to use and adapt them for non-commercial purposes. Make sure to give attribution to the original materials as well as for the adapted ones. Find explicit terms of use for CC-BY-NC-SA 4.0 at:

If you have remarks and observations, please contact us (buttons below) to share your thoughts and expertise.

The creation of these resources has been funded with the support of the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union under grant no. 2016 – 2927 / 003 – 001. The European Union/European Commission is neither responsible for the content nor liable for any losses or damage resulting of the use of these resources.

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   WP4 Field trials D4.1 Standardised announcement of course | 290 KB | Download

Module 1

  Outline Module 1 | 1.16 MB | Download

  Handout Module 1 | 243.74 KB | Download

  PPP Module 1 | 867.58 KB | Download

Module 2

  Outline Module 2 | 559.84 KB | Download

  PPP Module 2 | 608.40 KB | Download

Module 3

  Outline Module 3 | 1.44 MB | Download

  PPP Module 3 | 582.20 KB | Download

Evaluation instruments

   WP3 Experimentation protocol D3.1 Pre-post Questionnaire | 3 MB | Download


   WP3 Experimentation protocol D3.2 Data collection instruments for case study | 3 MB | Download

Reports on the results of the policy experimentation, dissemination and scaling-up

All reports will be available in February 2020.

Do you have any questions?