Prior Study of Mathematics as a Predictor of Pre-service Teachers’ Success on Tests of Mathematics and Pedagogical Content Knowledge

Stephen Norton


There remains a lack of empirical evidence about the relationship between the level
of mathematics studied at high school and within tertiary degrees and primary
school pre-service teachers’ success in curriculum subjects. Further, there is little
evidence to inform the structure and delivery of mathematics teacher preparation. In
this study, the content and pedagogical knowledge of pre-service primary teachers
were examined, as was their view of the effectiveness of a unit of study based on
mathematics content and pedagogy. The cohort comprised 122 graduate diploma
primary teacher preparation students; the unit’s assessment required them to know
the mathematics they were expected to teach as well as describe how to teach it. It
was found that the level of high school mathematics undertaken was highly
correlated with success in the teacher education unit designed to prepare prospective
teachers to teach primary (elementary) mathematics. The findings have implications
for enrolment in pre-service primary teacher preparation courses as well as for the
structure of mathematics curriculum units.


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