Assessing Pre-Service Teachers’ Mathematics Subject Knowledge

Julie Ryan, Barry McCrae


We report the development of an assessment instrument that provides a profile of the
attainment and the errors of pre-service primary teachers across the mathematics
curriculum. We describe test development, analyses and test validation involving a
sample of 426 pre-service teachers in the first year of their training in primary
education courses in Australia. We discuss a range of errors, strategies and
misconceptions made across different strands of the mathematics curriculum and
show that pre-service teachers are making the same errors as children. A second
sample of 86 pre-service teachers in England was used to validate the test. We also
describe how these pre-service teachers in the second year of their program made
sense of their personalised diagnostic profile from the test in order to develop their
mathematics subject knowledge.


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