Home > Kate le Roux


Kate le Roux is an Associate Professor in Language Development for Science and Engineering in the Academic Development Programme in the Centre for Higher Education Development. She has academic qualifications in pure mathematics, English language and literature, teaching and mathematics education research. During her fifteen-year career at UCT her research and teaching interests have converged at the intersection of language, mathematics and the learning of disciplinary knowledge in science and engineering.  This work has a particular focus on equity issues related to access, identity and power in multilingual higher education contexts.

Kate was awarded her PhD in Mathematics Education by the University of the Witwatersrand in 2011. Her doctoral and postdoctoral research on transitions to and through quantitative practices in higher education draws theoretically on critical linguistics, critical mathematics education, multilingualism and multimodality for learning, and Southern Theory.

Kate was a Mandela Mellon Fellow at the Hutchins Center for African & American Research at Harvard University in 2014. She has served as director of the Centre for Research in Engineering and Science Education at the University of Cape Town and currently leads the CHED Faculty Research Committee. She is a long-standing member of the International Committee on Mathematics Education and Society.

More information about Kate's research can be found at and

Contact Details

Phone: +27 21 650 3707


Selected publications

Journal Articles

Le Roux, K., & Kloot, B. (2019, online). Pedagogy for modelling problem solving in engineering dynamics: A social semiotic analysis of a lecturer’s multimodal language. European Journal of Engineering Education. doi: 10.1080/03043797.2019.1657068

Le Roux, K., Taylor, D.L., Kloot, B., & Allie, S. (2019, online). Research on higher education: A perspective on the relations between Higher Education Studies and Discipline-Based Education Research. Teaching in Higher Education. doi: 10.1080/13562517.2019.1634538

Le Roux, K. (2019). Navigating the discursive tensions of the public university: The case of a South African student. Teaching in Higher Education. 24(2), 231-247. doi: 10.1080/13562517.2018.1485644

Roberts, A., & le Roux, K. (2019). A commognitive perspective on grade 8 and 9 learner thinking about linear equations. Pythagoras, 40(1), a438. pythagoras.v40i1.438

Andersson, A., & le Roux, K. (2017). Towards an ethical attitude in mathematics education research writing. Journal of Urban Mathematics Education, 10(1), 74-94.

Shaw, C., & le Roux, K. (2017). From Practitioner to Researcher: Designing the Dissertation Process for Part Time Coursework Masters Students. Systemic Practice and Action Research, 30, 433–446. doi: 10.1007/s11213-016-9402-7

Le Roux, K. (2016). Re-imagining mathematics and mathematics education for equity and social justice in the changing South African university. Critical Studies in Teaching and Learning (CriSTaL), 4(2), 45-67

Le Roux, K., & Adler, J. (2016). A critical discourse analysis of practical problems in a foundation mathematics course at a South African university. Educational Studies in Mathematics, 91, 227-246. DOI: 10.1007/s10649-015-9656-5

Kapp, R; Prince, R; Pym, J; Badenhorst, E; Bangeni, B; Craig, T., Janse van Rensburg, V; le Roux, K, Van Pletzen , E. (2014). ‘Out of order’: Negotiating working-class schooling and identity in post-Apartheid South Africa, Perspectives in Education, 32(3), 50-61


Chapters in edited books

Le Roux, K. (2017).  “Eish, iyangbhayizisa (it’s confusing)”: A critical discourse analysis of what learners say and do in a research interview. In J. Adler & A. Sfard (Eds.), Research for educational change: Transforming researchers' insights into improvement in mathematics teaching and learning (pp. 100-119). Abingdon, UK: Routledge.

Le Roux, K. (2017). “Closing the gap”: Three mathematics students talk about their transitions to and through their undergraduate degrees in the sciences. In B. Bangeni and R. Kapp (Eds.), Negotiating learning and identity in Higher Education: A longitudinal perspective on access, persistence and retention in higher education (pp. 31-60). London: Bloomsbury.

Le Roux, K. (2017). Poor mathematics performance is created in multiple places.  In J. Adler & A. Sfard (Eds.), Research for Educational Change: Transforming researchers' insights into improvement in mathematics teaching and learning (pp. 159-168). Abingdon, UK: Routledge.

Le Roux, K., Mwakapenda, W., Pournara, C., Chitera, N., Pillay, V., & Tobais, B. (2016). Defining the problems of mathematics education, getting the description right and making it count: Jill Adler’s contribution and beyond. In M. Phakeng & S. Lerman (Eds.), Mathematics education in a context of inequity, poverty and language diversity: Giving direction and advancing the field (pp. 89-110).  Cham, Switzerland: Springer.


Peer-reviewed published conference papers

Le Roux, K., & Kloot, B. (2019). Multimodal representations for teaching problem solving in engineering dynamics: The case of a lecturer at a South African university. Proceedings of the Eighth Research in Engineering Education Symposium (pp. 693-702). Cape Town, South Africa.

Le Roux, K. (2019). An Africa-centred knowledges approach to theory use in research about mathematics education and society. In Subramanian, J. (Ed.), Proceedings of the Tenth International Mathematics Education and Society Conference. Hyderabad, India: MES10.

Le Roux, K. (2017). Moving up or down the ladder: University mathematics students talk about progress. In A. Chronaki (Ed.), Proceedings of the Ninth International Mathematics Education and Society Conference (Vol.2, pp. 665-675). Volos, Greece: MES9.

Andersson, A., & le Roux, K. (2015). Researchers and researched as Other within the socio-p/Political turn. In S. Mukhopadhyay, & B. Greer (Eds.), Proceedings of the Eighth International Mathematics Education and Society Conference (Vol.2, pp. 255-269). Portland, Oregon: MES8.  

Le Roux, K. (2014). Explaining mathematical meaning in “practical terms” and access to advanced mathematics.  In P. Liljedahl, C. Nicol, S. Oesterle, & D. Allan (Eds.), Proceedings of the 38th Conference of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education and the 36th Conference of the North American Chapter of the Psychology of Mathematics Education (Vol. 4, pp. 65-72). Vancouver, Canada: PME.


Edited works (conference proceedings and special issues)

Blackie, M., le Roux, K., & McKenna, S. (2016). Possible futures for science and engineering education. Higher Education (Special Issue), 71(4), 755-766.

Berger, M., Brodie, K., Frith, V., le Roux, K. (Eds.), (2013). Proceedings of the Seventh International Mathematics Education and Society Conference. Cape Town: MES7.

Collier-Reed, B., le Roux, K., Rollnick, M. (Eds.), (2010). Tertiary engineering and science education - Conceptualising learning through the lens of discourse and identity. Special Issue of the African Journal of Research in Mathematics, Science and Technology Education, 14(2).