How Deeply and How Well? How Ready to Teach Mathematics after a One-Year Program?

Stephen Norton

Abstract


The importance of teachers’ content knowledge for effective teaching of mathematics
has long been recognised. Recent national testing regimes in Australia (National
Assessment Program–Literacy and Numeracy [NAPLAN]) have raised questions of
the adequacy of teachers’ content knowledge. This, in turn has focused attention
upon the quality of teacher education programs. In this study 131 Graduate Diploma
of Primary Education students undertook the 2008 Year 9 national tests of numeracy
before and after a pre-service teacher education unit on mathematics education. The
purpose was first to examine, upon entry to the course and then after training, their
knowledge of the mathematics concepts they were likely to teach, and second to
compare this knowledge with that of the students whom they would be teaching.
While there was evidence of some inadequacy of entry-level mathematical
knowledge, improvement over the life of the study was reported. The implications of
these findings are examined in the context of a one-year graduate diploma pathway
to teacher preparation.

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