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Realistic Mathematics Education (RME)

What is Realistic Mathematics Education?

The features of RME include the following.

  • Use of realistic situations to develop mathematics
  • Well researched activities encourage pupils to move from informal to formal representations
  • Less emphasis on algorithms, more on making sense
  • Use of 'guided reinvention'
  • Progress towards formal ideas seen as a long-term process

More about Realistic Mathematics Education

Originally developed in the Netherlands, this approach to equipping students with problem solving skills has been used successfully for many years in other countries. A major collaboration took place between the Freudenthal Institute (FI) and the University of Wisconsin to produce the Mathematics in Context (MiC) curriculum. This curriculum was purchased by Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) in 2003, leading to a major curriculum development project funded by the Gatsby Foundation. This curriculum was trialled initially in Manchester and later in other schools in the UK. Many of these schools then volunteered to participate in developing RME materials for KS4 students.

MEI supports the ideas underpinning RME and would like to see them applied more widely across all age ranges. We commissioned the Centre for Evaluating and Monitoring (CEM) at Durham University as independent evaluator of the projects at MMU. The evaluation was designed to gather evidence on the impact of the projects and the extent to which they are achieving their aims.


Please see the documents below for more information:

Introduction to Realistic Mathematics Education and how it facilitates learning mathematics
The Freudenthal Institute and research into Realistic Mathematics Education
Using Realistic Mathematics Education in UK Classrooms
Evaluation of RME project at Manchester Metropolitan University


Manchester Metropolitan University is conducting further trialling of RME materials in UK schools.