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Personal profile


Dr Ann Downton is a lecturer in mathematics education in the Faculty of Education. She has extensive experience as a primary school teacher, as a part-time mathematics and science specialist and as a mathematics consultant. Prior to her appointment at Monash University in 2016 she was a lecturer in mathematics education at the Australian Catholic University, Melbourne Campus. As part of her involvement in the Mathematics Teaching and Learning Research Centre (MTLRC) at ACU she coordinated the Contemporary Teaching and Learning of Mathematics Project (CTLM) from 2008 to 2012 inclusively. The aim of the research project was to enhance teacher pedagogical content knowledge and student learning. Supporting the numeracy leaders and developing their skills and expertise as leaders was a critical part of the school based professional learning.

Ann's PhD thesis, Young Children's Development of Multiplicative Thinking: Making the Transition for Models to Symbols in Learning Multiplication and Division was completed in 2013. The study investigated the strategies students use to solve multiplicative problems and the impact of a classroom intervention program on students' transition from additive to multiplicative thinking. This study reflects her main research interests: how young children construct their mathematical knowledge, and the teaching and learning of mathematics in the early years of schooling.

Her present research titled Teachers' knowledge and practice in developing students' multiplicative thinking in Years 3 and 4 investigates the impact Teaching Educators working with lead teachers and classroom teachers on Years 3 and 4 students' development of multiplicative thinking. This is a collaborative pilot project between Monash (Clayton Campus) and Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta (CEDP) within the professional learning support offered to schools. Her other research project titled Evaluation of the approach to the learning and teaching of Mathematics across the Broken Bay diocesan school system investigates the extent to which the approach has enhanced teacher practice and improved students' mathematics learning.

Ann was a proud member of the Early Numeracy Research Project team awarded the Mathematics Education Research Group of Australasia (MERGA) Research Award in July 2011 in recognition of 'an outstanding contribution to mathematics education research' over an extended period of time (1999-2011).

Research interests

  • Young children's number learning
  • Multiplicative thinking and proportional reasoning
  • Teacher mathematics planning, task selection, catering for diversity, and enactment in the classroom
  • Teacher's pedagogical practices (in particularly: Teacher questioning to elicit student mathematical thinking and mathematical argumentation)
  • Problem posing and investigations in the primary years
  • Catering for low attaining students in the classroom

Selected Research Grants / Funded Research

  • 2016-2017 Teachers’ knowledge and practice in developing students’ multiplicative thinking in Years 3 & 4.Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta $25,000

  • 2015-2016  Evaluation of the approach to the teaching and learning of mathematics across the Catholic Education Diocese of Broken Bay $36,654 (Diocese of Broken Bay: Schools division) 

  • 2012 Mapping the One-to-One Assessment Interviews to the Australian Curriculum:Mathematics. Project for the Department of Education and Early Childhood Education, Victoria ($10,000.)

  • 2012-2013 Developing a Research-Based Framework for Mental Computation. Project for Australian. Association of Mathematics Teachers with Associate Professor Vince Wright ($20,000.)

  • 2008-2012 Contemporary Teaching and Learning of Mathematics Research and Professional Development. Project for the Catholic Education Office (Melbourne) (Grant: $1,029,000 approx.)

  • 2008-2009 Student-centred Teaching and Learning with Interactive Whiteboards (IWB) (Internal ACU National Teaching and Learning Enhancement Scheme (TALES) with Anne Scott (coordinator) and Donna Gronn (Grant ($10,000 approx.)

  • 2005-2008 Critical Friends Program for Australian Schools Innovation in Science, Technology and. Mathematics (ASISTM) Project for Commonwealth Department of Education, Science and Training (Grant: $2,400,000 approx.)

  • 2004-2005 Mathematics Specialist Intervention Teacher: An action research project for the Victorian. Department of Education Southern Metropolitan Region with Dr. Ann Gervasoni ($26,000 approx.)

  • 2004-2005 Catholic Education Office Melbourne Assessment Action Research Project with Professor Doug Clarke ($11,000 approx.)


  • Early Years Mathematics Learning
  • multiplicative thinking
  • children's mathematical thinking in primary years
  • assessment as learning in mathematics
  • Mathematics pedagogy
  • children's mathematics representations
  • rich mathematics tasks
  • mathematics teaching and learning
  • low attaining students' mathematics learning
  • Mathematics curriculum and planning

Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Projects 2016 2019

Research Output 2010 2019

  • 11 Conference Paper
  • 9 Article
  • 2 Chapter (Book)
  • 1 Commissioned Report

Teaching with challenging tasks in the first years of school: what are the obstacles and how can teachers overcome them?

Russo, J., Bobis, J., Downton, A., Hughes, S., Livy, S., McCormick, M. & Sullivan, P., Mar 2019, In : Australian Primary Mathematics Classroom. 24, 1, p. 11-18 8 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleOtherpeer-review

Bringing the profession into university classrooms: narratives of learning from co-teaching primary mathematics

Livy, S., Alagappan, J., Muir, T. & Downton, A., 2018, Re-imagining Professional Experience in Initial Teacher Education: Narratives of Learning. Fitzgerald, A., Parr, G. & Williams, J. (eds.). 1st ed. Singapore Singapore: Springer, p. 143-161 19 p.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Researchpeer-review

Curriculum documentation and the development of effective sequences of learning experiences

Bobis, J., Downton, A., Hughes, S., Livy, S., McCormick, M., Russo, J. & Sullivan, P., 2018, ICMI Study 24 Conference Proceedings: School Mathematics Curriculum Reforms: Challenges, Changes and Opportunities. Shimizu, Y. & Vithal, R. (eds.). Berlin Germany: International Commission on Mathematical Instruction (ICMI), p. 499-506 8 p.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference PaperResearchpeer-review

Open Access

Exploring experiences for assisting primary pre-service teachers to extend their knowledge of student strategies and reasoning

Livy, S. & Downton, A., Sep 2018, In : Journal of Mathematical Behavior. 51, p. 150-160 11 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Insights into a year 4 student's spatial reasoning and conceptual knowledge of rectangular prisms

Livy, S., Downton, A., Reinhold, S. & Wöller, S., 2018, Making Waves, Opening Spaces: Proceedings of the 41st Annual Conference of the Mathematics Education Research Group of Australasia. Hunter, J., Darragh, L. & Perger, P. (eds.). Adelaide SA Australia: Mathematics Education Research Group of Australasia, p. 487-494 8 p.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference PaperResearchpeer-review

Open Access


MERGA Research Award

Ann Gervasoni (Recipient), Douglas McLean Clarke (Recipient), Barbara Clarke (Recipient), Jill Cheeseman (Recipient), Ann Downton (Recipient), Peter Sullivan (Recipient), Anne Roche (Recipient), Linda Parish (Recipient), Glenn Rowley (Recipient) & Anne Mitchell (Recipient), 2 Jul 2011

Prize: Prize (including medals and awards)

Activities 2017 2017

  • 1 Editorial responsibility

Annual conference of the Mathematics Education Research Group of Australasia (Event)

Ann Patricia Downton (Associate editor), Sharyn Livy (Associate editor), Jennifer Hall (Associate editor)

Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesEditorial responsibility