Issues Raised by Testing Trainee Primary Teachers’ Mathematical Knowledge

Heather Morris


For the past four years, pre-service teachers on a postgraduate primary teacher
preparation course have been able to enhance their knowledge and skills of the
mathematics they will be teaching by opting for additional classes. At the
beginning of the course, the pre-service teachers had not really engaged with the
content knowledge they required in order to teach pupils up to 11 years of age. In
many cases they initially assumed that they had the required knowledge but
experienced difficulties during practical placement when it was too late to access
additional classes. Therefore, it was decided to audit the pre-service teachers’
mathematical knowledge at the beginning of their 38 week course. This paper
highlights the issues raised with regard to pre-service teacher confidence, attitude
,and course provision by the decision to expose them to deficits in their
knowledge. This is of current importance in Wales and England as recent
Government regulations require all pre-service teachers to demonstrate levels of
competency in mathematics.


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