Measuring Pre-service Primary Teachers’ Knowledge for Teaching Mathematics


  • Kim Beswick
  • Merrilyn Goos


This paper reports on the knowledge for teaching mathematics of 294 pre-service primary teachers from seven Australian universities participating in a project aimed at establishing a culture of evidence-based improvement of teacher education. The project was funded by the Australian Learning and Teaching Council. Rasch measurement techniques were used to validate and obtain performance measures on an overall Teacher Knowledge scale and three subscales (beliefs, content knowledge, and pedagogical content knowledge). The relative difficulties of items on each of the three subscales are discussed and differences between the participants’ performances on each subscale and the overall scale according to level of education (prior to their pre-service teacher education course), previous mathematics study, course type, mode of study, and confidence to teach mathematics at the grade levels for which they were being prepared, are examined. The findings contribute to the establishment of an evidence-base for pre-service teacher education, and they also raise questions about the knowledge with which pre-service teachers leave teacher education, and current understandings of how important aspects of the knowledge teachers need can be measured.

Author Biographies

Kim Beswick

Merrilyn Goos