Sustaining Improvement in Numeracy: Developing Pedagogical Content Knowledge and Leadership Capabilities in Tandem

Michael Gaffney, Rhonda Faragher


Sustainable improvement in student learning achievement in numeracy requires a
deliberate focus on two complementary strands of educational endeavour: the
practice of effective teaching of mathematics and the exercise of high level school
leadership capabilities. In this article, the authors describe the context and findings
from their research in schools in low socioeconomic communities in suburban,
regional and remote areas of Australia. The research project, Leading Aligned
Numeracy Development (LAND), investigates the nature and relationship between
the development of teachers’ pedagogical content knowledge in mathematics and
the exercise of educational leadership by principals and teacher leaders (as members
of school based teams), and the consequences of this interplay for student learning
achievement in numeracy. Preliminary findings indicate that sustained improvement
in numeracy demands a concerted and strategic focus on identifying, developing and
supporting effective teacher leaders in order to embed authoritative and agreed
pedagogical principles for the teaching of mathematics at the school level. Further,
the study has found that successful school leadership teams (including principals,
other school executive and teacher leaders) are able to maintain this focus through
developing their own pedagogical content knowledge, while continuing to build
community, organise for teaching and learning, and inspire vision in their school


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