Curriculum, Pedagogy and Assessment



The purpose of the Curriculum, Pedagogy and Assessment (CPA) Research Group is to bring better understanding to the increasing complexity and challenges of teaching and learning at all levels from early years through to higher education. We aim to promote a collaborative, inclusive and rewarding intellectual environment in which staff, students and partners feel motivated and supported to develop their ideas and advance their thinking and practice. The staff in the research group are engaged with different aspects of educational practice at local, national and international levels and the research generated from the group is aimed at making a valid contribution towards practice, policy and theory.



Fundamentally, the work of the research group aims to support the professional development of teachers who in turn will improve the quality of learners’ experiences. We work with a range of local, national and international partners as part of our long-term strategy to develop research capacity within the group. In particular, we work closely with our local school communities to ensure that our work has direct relevance to the professional practice of teachers with a view to affecting improvements in pupils' learning. We believe these close partnerships are mutually beneficial and help us to ensure that the research knowledge we develop is meaningful and accessible and has direct impact in advancing educational improvement, promoting social justice and influencing social change.



Essentially, the work of the CPA research group is focussed on four key themes: Teacher Professional Learning and Practice; Literacy for Learning; Sport, Health and Wellbeing; and STEM.


CPA logo


Teacher Professional Learning and Practice
The focus of the Teacher Professional Learning and Practice theme is concerned with a better understanding and promotion of effective and meaningful professional learning and development for teachers at all levels and in all contexts. This research theme is closely aligned with the Teacher Professional Learning Strategy of the Department of Education in Northern Ireland, the premise of which is that “Every teacher is a learning leader, accomplished in working collaboratively with all partners in the interests of children and young people” (DE, 2016:2.2). Through our research, we aim to explore the concept of leadership at all levels with a view to developing sustainable and meaningful professional learning opportunities and development practices. Click on the following links to read some examples of members' and students' research related to the theme of Teacher Professional Learning and Practice (Members) / Teacher Professional Learning and Practice (Students).


Literacy for Learning
The Literacy for Learning theme of the CPA research group underpins our teaching programmes to raise literacy attitudes, skills and habits across Northern Ireland. We explore literacy issues using multiple approaches to further our understanding of the literacy needs of our teachers and the children they teach. Our evidence-based approach means we comprehensively explore the impact of our work through research informed teaching. Click on the following links to read some examples of members' and students' research related to the theme of Literacy for Learning (Members) / Literacy for Learning (Students).


Sport, Health and Wellbeing
Sport, Health and Wellbeing is a varied research theme encompassing a broad range of interests. The fundamental premise is to develop the knowledge base of practitioners in educational settings beyond the classroom with the overarching aim of improving the quality of life of teachers and pupils. Through our research we envisage that we will identify good practice in the planning and delivery of intervention programmes, which in turn may inform recommendations for practitioners, school leaders and policy makers. Click on the following links to read some examples of members' and students' research related to the theme of Sport, Health and Wellbeing (Members) / Sport, Health and Wellbeing (Students).


“The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education.” Albert Einstein.
The impact of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics reverberates increasingly in our daily lives. It is imperative that schools prepare pupils to embrace and apply their understanding in a constantly evolving climate of scientific and technological innovation. The STEM research theme at St Mary’s University College explores all aspects of STEM practice in primary and post-primary schools and the current gender imbalance in both the uptake of STEM subjects and careers. We aim to enhance the pedagogical practices of ITE students and teachers in order to promote the highest level of engagement with STEM through interconnected, discovery and experiential learning. Click on the following links to read some examples of members' and students' research related to the theme of STEM (Members) / STEM (Students).



The members of the research group work across all programmes offered at St Mary’s University College. The research group also works with partners in mainstream and special primary and post-primary schools, other local, national and international third level institutions, key stakeholder and community groups and organisations and policy makers. Through these close associations the staff in the research group are committed to ensure that their work has positive impact upon practitioners and significant influence on educational policy and practice.



Martin Hagan
Teresa Cash
Claire Connolly
Deirdre Cree
Catherine Gilliland
Brain Hanratty
Donna Hazzard

Dr Martin Hagan


Teresa Cash
Dr Claire Connolly
Deirdre Cree
Catherine Gilliland
Dr Brian Hanratty
Dr Donna Hazzard
Geraldine Magennis
Matthew Martin
Jonathan Worley
Tracey McKay
Elaine McLaughlin
Ciaran Walsh

Dr Geraldine Magennis-Clarke

Dr Matthew Martin
Jonathan Worley
Dr Tracey McKay
Dr Elaine McLaughlin
Ciaran Walsh
Katrina Mulholland
Joe Hughes
Padai de Bleine
Dr Katrina Mulholland
Joe Hughes
Padaí de Bléine

Missing from photographs: Dr Frances Burgess, Dr Barry Doherty, Rev Dr Paul Fleming, Julie Hamilton, Rev Feidhlimidh Magennis, Rev Dr Eddie McGee, Karen McGivern, Geraldine Parks, Dr Catherine Quinn, Sharon Haughey, Paddy Tally, Gerry Trainor.



The research group welcomes enquiries from prospective students, visiting scholars and interested organisations. For any queries related to the research group’s activities, please contact Dr Martin Hagan