Associate Professor Katie Makar

Associate Professor

School of Education
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
k.makar@uq.edu.au
+61 7 336 57949

Overview

Key research areas: Inquiry-based teaching practices in mathematics education; Statistical reasoning and informal inference;

Dr Katie Makar is an Associate Professor in Mathematics Education at the University of Queensland. Her award-winning research focuses on teachers’ learning of innovative pedagogies and children’s statistical reasoning. Funded by over $1.6 million in grants and consultancies, Katie’s classroom-based research collaborates with practicing teachers to seek pragmatic solutions to improving teaching and learning.

Her most recent ARC Discovery Project (2017-2020, $370 000) Developing classroom norms of inquiry based learning in mathematics collaborates with Dr Jill Fielding-Wells (Institute for Learning Sciences and Teacher Education, ACU) investigated how primary teachers initiate, build and sustain a productive classroom culture and mathematical practices conducive to addressing complex problems that rely on mathematical evidence. Her four previous ARC projects studied teachers’ adoption of inquiry-based practices (ARC Linkage Projects 2007-2009, 2009-2012), development of positive learning environments and data-based argumentation (ARC Discovery Projects 2012-2014, 2014-2017).

The quality and impact of Katie’s highly-cited research is evidenced by both university and national awards. A Mathematics Education Research Group of Australasia (MERGA) Research Award (2017) recently acknowledged the international impact of her work on children’s statistical reasoning, particularly her development of informal statistical inference. Katie had previously won MERGA’s Early Career (2007) and Practical Implications (2011) Awards, providing national recognition of the quality and impact of her research on teachers’ adoption of mathematical inquiry. Social and Behavioural Science Faculty Award for Research Impact and Innovation (2010) and UQ Promoting Women Fellowship (2010) further showcased her research within the university.

Katie has been consultant to the Queensland Department of Education, Queensland College of Teachers, Wireless Generation (New York), Cognition Education (New Zealand) and the Australian Centre for Educational Research. Recently, she led a project team for the Australian Academy of Science’s reSolve: Mathematics by Inquiry initiative to design innovative mathematics curriculum units for teachers that utilised mathematical inquiry.

Katie is the former deputy and acting Head of the School of Education (2016-2018). Her other leadership roles include co-director (with Prof Dani Ben-Zvi, University of Haifa) of the International Collaboration for Research in Statistical Reasoning, Thinking and Literacy (2013-present); Executive Boards for the International Association for Statistical Education (2017-2019) and Mathematics Education Research Group of Australasia (2009-2012); current or past editorial board member for three peer-reviewed journals (Mathematics Education Research Journal, Statistics Education Research Journal and Technology Innovations in Statistics Education) and guest editor of three special issues (Mathematical Thinking and Learning and Educational Studies in Mathematics).

A highly-cited author, Katie has published seven authored and edited books, twenty-five peer-reviewed journal articles and sixteen book chapters as well as presenting her research on six continents. Her edited volumes of research include the Handbook of Research in Statistics Education (Springer, 2018), Research in Mathematics Education in Australasia 2012-2015 (Springer, 2016) and The Teaching and Learning of Statistics: International Perspectives (Springer, 2015).

A former classroom teacher for 15 years in USA, Malaysia and Nepal, Katie holds a PhD in Mathematics Education (University of Texas), Master of Arts in Mathematics (Pure Mathematical Logic, University of California, Berkeley) and Bachelor of Arts (with honours) in Mathematics. She is a qualified secondary mathematics teacher (Queensland, California).

Research Interests

  • Informal statistical inference
  • Inquiry-based pedagogies
  • Mathematics and statistics education
  • Statistical thinking and reasoning
  • Teachers learning to teach mathematics with inquiry

Research Impacts

In inquiry-based learning, Dr Makar's research has been used as a model in the development of inquiry-based lessons for Queensland state schools and the creation of innovative curriculum resources in Australia and USA. An M-in-STEM episode of the Queensland Department of Education's EDTV featured her research and engagement with schools (November, 2020; M in STEM – Effective inquiry strategies: Implementing a mathematical inquiry framework - YouTube). Her research on informal statistical inference has had a major impact on the direction of international statistics education research at the school level.

Qualifications

  • Doctor of Philosophy, University of Texas
  • Master of Arts, Mathematics, U.C.Berkeley
  • Bachelor of Arts, Mathematics, Mills Coll.

Publications

View all Publications

Supervision

  • (2020) Doctor Philosophy

  • Master Philosophy

  • Doctor Philosophy

View all Supervision

Available Projects

  • My main research focus is on understanding aspects of students and teachers' development of inquiry-based learning in mathematics. I would welcome RHD students with an interest in this area.

    NOTE: I am not taking any new students at this time.

  • Most of my international publications and theoretical contributions have been in statistics education, particularly around informal statistical inference. My work focuses on its use with children from prep (age 4-5) through the school years.

    NOTE: I am not taking any new students at this time.

View all Available Projects

Publications

Featured Publications

Book

Book Chapter

  • Makar, Katie, Dole, Shelley, Visnovska, Jana, Goos, Merrilyn, Bennison, Anne and Fry, Kym (2020). Looking back and taking stock: reflections on the MERGA Research Review 2012–2015. Research in mathematics education in Australasia 2016–2019. (pp. 7-26) Singapore: Springer. doi: 10.1007/978-981-15-4269-5_2

  • Makar, Katie and Rubin, Andee (2018). Learning about statistical inference. International handbook of research in statistics education. (pp. 261-294) edited by Dani Ben-Zvi, Katie Makar and Joan Garfield. Cham, Switzerland: Springer International Publishing. doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-66195-7_8

  • Makar, Katie (2018). Theorising links between context and structure to introduce powerful statistical ideas in the early years. Early mathematics learning and development. (pp. 3-20) Singapore: Springer Singapore. doi: 10.1007/978-981-13-1044-7_1

  • Langrall, Cynthia W., Makar, Katie, Nilsson, Per and Shaughnessy, J. Michael (2017). Teaching and learning probability and statistics: an integrated perspective. Compendium for research in mathematics education. (pp. 490-525) edited by Jinfa Cai. Reston, VA, United States: National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.

  • Ben-zvi, Dani and Makar, Katie (2016). International perspectives on the teaching and learning of statistics. The teaching and learning of statistics. (pp. 1-10) edited by Dani Ben-Zvi and Katie Makar. Heidelberg, Germany: Springer. doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-23470-0_1

  • Makar, Katie, Dole, Shelley, Visnovska, Jana, Goos, Merrilyn, Bennison, Anne and Fry, Kym (2016). Introduction: Research in Mathematics Education in Australasia 2012–2015. Research in Mathematics Education in Australasia 2012-2015. (pp. 1-12) edited by Katie Makar, Shelley Dole, Jana Visnovska, Merrilyn Goos, Anne Bennison and Kym Fry. City of Singapore, Singapore: Springer. doi: 10.1007/978-981-10-1419-2_1

  • Fielding-Wells, Jill and Makar, Katie (2015). Inferring to a model: using inquiry-based argumentation to challenge young children's expectations of equally likely outcomes. Reasoning about uncertainty: learning and teaching informal inferential reasoning. (pp. 1-28) edited by Andrew Zieffler and Elizabeth Fry. Minneapolis, MN, United States: Catalyst Press.

  • Makar, Katie and Confrey, Jere (2014). Wondering, wandering or unwavering? Learners' statistical investigations with Fathom. Mit Werkzeugen Mathematik und Stochastik lernen - Using Tools for Learning Mathematics and Statistics. (pp. 351-362) edited by Thomas Wassong, Daniel Frischemeier, Pascal R. Fischer, Reinhard Hochmuth and Peter Bender. Wiesbaden, Germany: Springer Spektrum. doi: 10.1007/978-3-658-03104-6_25

  • Makar, Katie and O'Brien, Mia (2013). Blurring the boundaries: the transformative nature of research participation. The Role of Participants in Education Research: Ethics, Epistemologies, and Methods. (pp. 110-125) edited by Warren Midgley, Patrick Alan Danaher and Margaret Baguley. New York, NY, United States: Routledge. doi: 10.4324/9780203078389

  • Biehler, Rolph, Ben-Zvi, Dani, Bakker, Arthur and Makar, Katie (2013). Technology for enhancing statistical reasoning at the school level. Third International Handbook of Mathematics Education. (pp. 643-689) edited by M. A. (Ken) Clement, Alan J. Bishop, Christine Keitel, Jeremy Kilpatrick and Frederick K. S. Leung. New York, NY, United States: Springer. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4614-4684-2_21

  • Makar, Katie (2012). The pedagogy of mathematics inquiry. Pedagogy: new developments in the learning sciences. (pp. 371-397) edited by Robyn M. Gillies. New York, United States: Nova Science Publishers.

  • Makar, Katie and Fielding-Wells, Jill (2011). Teaching teachers to teach statistical investigations. Teaching statistics in school mathematics: Challenges for teaching and teacher education. A Joint ICMI/IASE Study: The 18th ICMI Study. (pp. 347-358) edited by Carmen Batanero, Gail Burrill and Chris Reading. Dordrech, Netherlands: Springer. doi: 10.1007/978-94-007-1131-0_33

  • Olive, John and Makar, Katie (2010). Mathematical knowledge and practices resulting from access to digital technologies. Mathematics Education and Technology - Rethinking the Terrain. (pp. 133-178) edited by C. Hoyles and J-B. Lagrange. New York, United States: Springer. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4419-0146-0_8

  • Makar, K. and Confrey, J. (2007). Moving the context of modelling to the forefront: Preservice teachers’ investigations of equity in testing. Modelling and applications in mathematics education: the 14th ICMI study. (pp. 485-490) edited by W. Blum, P. L. Galbraith, H.-W. Henn and M. Niss. Norwell, USA: Springer. doi: 10.1007/978-0-387-29822-1_55

  • Confrey, Jere and Makar, Katie M. (2005). Critiquing and improving the use of data from high-stakes tests with the aid of dynamic statistics software. Scaling up success: Lessons learned from technology-based educational improvement. (pp. 198-226) edited by Chris Dede, James P. Honan and Laurence C. Peters. San Francisco, CA, Australia: Jossey-Bass.

  • Makar, Katie and Confrey, Jere (2004). Secondary teachers’ statistical reasoning in comparing two groups. The challenge of developing statistical literacy, reasoning, and thinking. (pp. 353-373) edited by Dani Ben-Zvi and Joan Garfield. Dordrecht, Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishers. doi: 10.1007/1-4020-2278-6_15

Journal Article

Conference Publication

Edited Outputs

Other Outputs

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Note for students: Associate Professor Katie Makar is not currently available to take on new students.

Current Supervision

  • Master Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Master Philosophy — Principal Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

    Other advisors:

Completed Supervision

Possible Research Projects

Note for students: The possible research projects listed on this page may not be comprehensive or up to date. Always feel free to contact the staff for more information, and also with your own research ideas.

Associate Professor Katie Makar is not currently available to take on new students.

  • My main research focus is on understanding aspects of students and teachers' development of inquiry-based learning in mathematics. I would welcome RHD students with an interest in this area.

    NOTE: I am not taking any new students at this time.

  • Most of my international publications and theoretical contributions have been in statistics education, particularly around informal statistical inference. My work focuses on its use with children from prep (age 4-5) through the school years.

    NOTE: I am not taking any new students at this time.