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Fran Riga


Research Associate

Teaching Associate

E-mail Address


+ 44 (0)1223 336287

  • BSc (University of Cape Town)
  • PGCE (University of Cape Town)
  • MEd (University of Cambridge)
  • PhD (University of Cambridge)
Membership of Professional Bodies/Associations
  • BERA
  • ASE

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Fran comes from a background of teaching science and mathematics in secondary schools in South Africa, Greece (International School), and England. In her doctoral research she investigated secondary students' conceptual development in astronomy topics. She has worked on a number of research projects in the Faculty of Education in areas such as science education for the gifted, assessment, inquiry-based science education, and dialogic approaches in secondary education. Areas of particular interest to her are: conceptual development and associated thinking processes, education for the gifted in science (esp. females), dialogic approaches to teaching and learning, inquiry-based science education, adaptive learning, and both quantitative and qualitative research methodologies in educational research.

Academic Area/Links

  • STEM
  • CEDiR

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Research Topics

  • Adaptive learning
  • Dialogic teaching and learning in secondary education
  • Secondary school students’ ideas in science (in particular astronomy)
  • Young people’s ideas in chemistry
  • Inquiry-based science education
  • Students’ perceptions of the relationship between science and religion

Current Research Project(s)

  • The CogBooks Adaptive Learning Project
  • CamTalk Project
  • INSTRUCT Research Group: young children's reasoning about chemistry

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  • Postgraduate
    • Teaching and supervising students on Science MEd and Researching Practice courses
  • Undergraduate
    • Marking of PGCE assignments

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Principal and Recent Publications

Riga, F. (in print). Dewey's Pragmatism. In B. Akpan and T. Kennedy (Eds.) Science Education Theory and Practice. New York: Springer.

Riga, F., Winterbottom, M., Harris, E., and Newby, L. (2017). Inquiry-Based Science Education. In K. S. Taber and b. Akpan (Eds.) Science Education: An International Course Companion. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.

Taber, K. S., and Riga, F. (2016). From each according to her capabilities; to each according to her needs: fully including the gifted in school science education. In S. Markic and S. Abels (Eds.), Science Education towards Inclusion. New York: Nova Publishers.

Camci-Erdogan, S., and Riga, F. (2016). Gifted females in science. In K. S. Taber and M. Sumida (Eds.), International Perspectives on Science Education for the Gifted: Key issues and challenges. London: Routledge.

Taber, K. S., Billingsley, B., Riga, F., and Newdick, H. (2015). English secondary students' thinking about the status of scientific theories: consistent, comprehensive, coherent and extensively evidenced explanations of aspects of the natural world - or 'just an idea someone has'? The Curriculum Journal.

Billingsley, B., Riga, F., Taber, K. S., and Newdick, H. (2014). Secondary school teachers’ perceptions on teaching about topics that bridge science and religion. The Curriculum Journal, 25(3), 372-395.

Billingsley, B., Taber, K. S. Riga, F., and Newdick, H. (2013). Secondary school students’ epistemic insight into the relationships between science and religion – a preliminary enquiry. Research in Science Education, 43, 1715–1732.

Taber, K. S., Riga, F., Brindley, S., Winterbottom, M., Finey, J., and Fisher, L. (2011). Formative conceptions of assessment: trainee teachers’ thinking about assessment issues in English secondary schools. Teacher Development, 15(2), 171-186.

Taber, K. S., Billingsley, B., Riga, F. and Newdick, H. (2011) Secondary students' responses to perceptions of the relationship between science and religion: Stances identified from an interview study. Science Education, 95, 1000–1025.

Taber, K. S., Billingsley, B., and Riga, F. (2010). How should science teachers respond to the ‘science and religion’ debate? Education in Science, 236, 20–21.

Riga, F., Taber, K. S., Brindley, S., Winterbottom, M., Fisher, L. G., Finney, J. (2008) Learning about 'assessment for learning' - trainee teachers' perceptions of the purposes and nature of school assessment. Published in conference proceedings of the International Association for Educational Assessment Conference in Cambridge (IAEA), UK, September 2008.

Winterbottom, M., Taber, K. S., Brindley, S., Fisher, L. G., Finney, J. and Riga, F. (2008) Understanding differences in trainee teachers’ values and practice in relation to assessment, Teacher Development, 12(1), 15-35.

Winterbottom, M., Taber, K.S., Brindley, S., Fisher, L.G., Finney, J. and Riga, F. (2008) Conceptions of assessment: trainee teachers' practice and values. The Curriculum Journal 19(3), 193-213.

Taber, K. and Riga, F. (2007) Working together to provide enrichment for able science learners, in Keith S. Taber (Ed) Science Education for Gifted Learners. London: Routledge.

Taber, K. and Riga, F. (2006) Lessons from the Ascend project: able pupils’ responses to an enrichment programme exploring the nature of science. School Science Review, 87(321), 97-106.