Are you a coffee or a tea person?

Are you a coffee or a tea person?..

Are you a coffee or a tea person - or one of the rare people that don’t like either?

While we still prefer tea when at home, outside the home Britons are now drinking almost two and a half cups of coffee for every one of tea – 2.1billion versus 874 million annually – and sales of espresso are up 31 per cent to £99 million a year. But what has all this got to do with Cambridge Mathematics?

In December 2016, we launched our monthly series of research digests on mathematics education, designed to filter current educational research and distil the ideas into two-page summaries for teachers. What best to call them but Espressos – 'a small but intense draught of filtered research on mathematics education'?

The design principles behind Espresso also mirror their caffeinous counterparts: short, intense, gently stimulant, but nothing that can't be swiftly consumed on a morning break. With this is mind, each one contains an infographic to kickstart thinking, a clearly refined research question, and some key quotes on the subject. We also decided to have the research papers underneath the document as live links – so that the opportunity to take a deeper, longer draught was available too.

So far, four Espressos have been written and uploaded to our site, on such varied topics as early number sense, confidence assessments in mathematics, and the traditional versus progressive debate. As we research and develop the Cambridge Mathematics Framework, our knowledge of the evidence base across mathematics education deepens and we see distilling this information for maths educators as a significant part of our work. As a former head of maths, I would have been delighted to have an Espresso once a month to read and discuss every month with my team as an invaluable part of maths CPD, and we hope that our work can be helpful in continuing to form links between educational research and classroom practice.

The response has been similarly positive from mathematics teachers who are using the documents, with one saying: "Love this new series of 'Espressos' from @CambridgeMaths - bitesize maths education research" and another "combines two of my favourite things" (coffee and research).

If you would like to know more about Espresso, you can read our first four here and you can tweet us @CambridgeMaths to discuss future topics and find out more about our Framework. We also write fresh and wide-ranging weekly blogs which can be found under our 'Mathematical salad' section (what else?).

Lucy Rycroft-Smith
Research and Communications Officer, Cambridge Mathematics