Dr Jill Fielding-Wells

Senior Research Fellow
STEM in Education: Design and Growth Across the Disciplines 

Areas of expertise:mathematics and numeracy education from early to middle years; development of mathematical reasoning and problem solving; student motivation and engagement in mathematics; pedagogical approaches that support mathematical reasoning and argumentation; statistical reasoning, thinking and literacy 

ORCID ID: 0000-0002-1469-4504

Phone: +6107 3861 6201

Email: Jill.Wells@acu.edu.au

Location: ACU Brisbane Campus 

Jill Fielding-Wells is a Senior Research Fellow in the Institute for Learning Sciences and Teacher Education with international recognition as a researcher in mathematics education.

Jill commenced her career in adult training and development before discovering a passion for teaching, leading to study to qualify as a teacher. Her first-hand experience as a primary teacher provided insight into the extent with which children were disengaged with mathematics from the earliest years of their formal schooling. This realisation led to a desire to research teaching approaches in search of ways to spark students' enthusiasm and love of mathematics while, at the same time, developing deep conceptual understanding. Over subsequent years, Jill divided her time between classroom teaching and research until she completed a Doctor of Philosophy (entitled: Developing Argument-Based Inquiry in Primary Mathematics: The Role of Evidence and Context). In 2014, Jill commenced at the University of Tasmania as a Lecturer in Mathematics Education. Working in this role made her increasingly aware of many significant issues in mathematics teacher education that were yet to be addressed in research. Subsequently, Jill successfully applied for Research Fellowship at the University of Queensland before moving into her research role at the ILSTE.

Jill's research program has already attracted significant external funding: most recently a competitive ARC Discovery Grant (2017-2019) into developing the classroom norms that are conducive to Inquiry-Based Learning. She publishes in highly esteemed journals but is also mindful of the importance of translating research into practice, for example through the co-published book series, Thinking through Mathematics: Engaging Students with Inquiry-Based Learning, which was developed to support teachers’ promotion of Inquiry-Based Learning practices in school classrooms.

Her research is driven by the belief that all children have both the right to enjoy mathematics and the capacity to learn mathematics with deep conceptual understanding.

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Select Publications

  • Geiger, V., Yasukawa, K., Fielding-Wells, J., Bennison, A., & Sawatzki, C. (accepted Feb 2020). Facets of numeracy: Teaching, learning and practices. In J. Way, J. Anderson, J. Bobis, H. McMaster, K. Cartwright, & C. Attard (Eds.), Research in mathematics education in Australasia: 2016-2019. New York: Springer.
  • Fielding-Wells, J., & Fry, K. (2019). Introducing guided mathematical inquiry in the classroom: Complexities of developing norms of evidence. In G. Hine, S. Blackley, & A. Cooke (Eds.), Proceedings of the 42nd annual conference of the Mathematics Education Research Group of Australasia: Impacting Practice (pp. 268-275). Perth: MERGA.
  • Fielding-Wells, J., Geiger, V., Miller, J., Bruder, R., Roder, U., & Ratnayake, I. (2019). Designing challenging online mathematical tasks for initial teacher education: Motivational considerations. In M. Graven, H. Venkat, A. Essien, & P. Vale (Eds.), Proceedings of the 43rd conference of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education (Vol. 2, pp. 240-247). Pretoria, South Africa: PME.
  • Makar, K., & Fielding-Wells, J. (2019). Extending Yackel & Cobb's socio-mathematical norms to ill-structured problems in an inquiry-based classroom. In U.T. Jankvist, M. Van den Heuvael-Panhuizen, & M. Veldhuis (Eds.), Proceedings of the 11th Congress of the European Society for Research in Mathematics Education (CERME11). Utrecht, Netherlands: CERME.
  • Fielding-Wells, J. (2018). Dot plots and hat plots: Supporting young students emerging understandings of distribution, center and variability through modelling. ZDM Mathematics Education, 50(7), 1125-1138. DOI: 10.1007/s11858-018-0961-1
  • Fielding-Wells, J. (2018). Scaffolding statistical inquiries for young children. In A. Leavy, M. Marotheris-Meletiou, & E. Paperistodemou (Eds.), Statistics in Early Childhood and Primary Education: Supporting Early Statistical and Probabilistic Thinking. Singapore: Springer. DOI: 10.1007/978-981-13-1044-7_7
  • Makar, K., & Fielding-Wells, J. (2018). Shifting more than the goal posts: Developing classroom norms of inquiry-based learning in mathematics. Mathematics Education Research Journal, 30(1), 53-63. DOI: 10.1007/s13394-017-0215-5
  • Watson, J., Fitzallen, N., Fielding-Wells, J., & Madden, S. (2018). The practice of statistics. In D. Ben-Zvi, K. Makar, & J. Garfield (Eds.), International Handbook of Research in Statistics Education. Dordrecht, Netherlands: Springer.
  • Fielding-Wells, J., O’Brien, M., & Makar, K. (2017). Using expectancy-value theory to explore aspects of motivation and engagement in inquiry-based learning in primary mathematics. Mathematics Education Research Journal, 29(2), 237-254. DOI: 10.1007/s13394-017-0201-y
  • Fielding-Wells, J., & Makar, K. (2015). Inferring to a model: Using inquiry-based argumentation to challenge young children’s expectations of equally likely outcomes. In A. Zieffler & E. Fry (Eds.), Reasoning about Uncertainty: Learning and Teaching Informal Inferential Reasoning (pp. 1-27). Minneapolis, MN: Catalyst Press.
  • Fielding-Wells, J., Dole, S., & Makar, K. (2014). Inquiry pedagogy to promote emerging proportional reasoning in primary students. Mathematics Education Research Journal, 26(1), 47-77. DOI: 10.1007/s13394-013-0111-6
  • Makar, K., & Fielding-Wells, J. (2011). Teaching teachers to teach statistical investigations. In C. Batanero, G. Burrill, & C. Reading (Eds.), Teaching statistics in school mathematics-challenges for teaching and teacher education (Vol. 14, pp. 347-358). Netherlands: Springer.


Selected studies with ARC funding

  • 2017-2019, Australian Research Council, Discovery Scheme: Makar, K. & Fielding-Wells, J., Shifting more than the goal posts: Developing classroom norms of inquiry-based learning in mathematics. $370,000

Selected industry funded studies

  • 2017-2018, DAAD Joint Research Cooperation Scheme: Geiger, V., Fielding-Wells, J., Miller, J., Bruder, R., Roder, U., Designing challenging online mathematical tasks: Strengthening mathematical knowledge in pre-service teacher education. $50,000
  • 2014-2016, Australian Maths and Science Partnership Program: Beswick, K., Fraser, S., Callingham, R., Kilpatrck, S., Seen, A., Muir, T., Reaburn, R., Chick, H., Wells, J., Fitzallen, N., & Oates, G., Towards education mathematics professionals encompassing science and technology (TEMPEST). $1,738,070
  • 2015, Tasmanian Community Fund: Reaburn, R. & Wells, J., Promoting and supporting parent involvement in primary students’ mathematics learning. $5,808

Accolades and awards

  • University of Tasmania, Outstanding Research Merit Certificate, 2016
  • University of Tasmania, Outstanding Research Merit Certificate, 2015
  • University of Tasmania, Teaching Merit Certificate, 2015
  • Australian Postgraduate Award, 2010-2013
  • International Association for Statistics Education (IASE) Award for Excellence, 2010

Appointments and affiliations


  • Senior Research Fellow, Institute for Learning Sciences & Teacher Education, Australian Catholic University, 2018-
  • Research Fellow, School of Education, University of Queensland, 2017-2018
  • Lecturer in Mathematics Education Faculty of Education, University of Tasmania, 2014-2016

Professional Affiliations

  • Australian Association for Research in Education (AARE)
  • Mathematics Education Research Group of Australasia (MERGA)
  • International Association for Statistics Education (IASE)
  • International Collaborative for Research in Statistical Reasoning, Thinking and Literacy (SRTL)
  • International Society of the Learning Sciences (ISLS)
  • Australian Association for Mathematics Teachers (AAMT)
  • Queensland Association for Mathematics Teachers (QAMT)
  • Mathematics Association of Tasmania (MAT)
  • Queensland Association for Mathematics Teachers (QAMT)

Editorial roles

  • Editor of the Proceedings of the 39th Conference of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education, 2015

International journal review panel

  • Australian Research Council (ARC) peer reviewer
  • Journal reviewer (selection):
    • Journal of Mathematics Teacher Education
    • ZDM Mathematics Education
    • Statistics Education Research Journal
    • Mathematics Education Research Journal
    • International Journal of Disability, Development and Education


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