This research project investigates first year mathematics students' transition from school to university mathematics. I focussed my attention on the messages that students receive from their lecturers during the teaching and learning of mathematics at this level. By decomposing each transmitted message into the underlying structures of power and control that it carries I investigated in what ways these affect students' adjustment to the new context. In order to examine students' interactions with the messages I took into account their previous experiences while working with mathematics. The results of the study reveal a direct influence of the degree of power and control of the transmitted messages on students' adjustment. This influence is highly dependent on students' interpretations of the messages which are mediated through their identities as mathematics learners. With this work I approached the secondary-tertiary transition as a multifaceted process which accounts for the development of students' identities as mathematics learners while they interact with the transmitted messages and try to position themselves in the new context.
A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.