Specialized mathematical content knowledge of preservice elementary teachers: the effect of mathematics teacher efficacy
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In 2000, the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics ([NCTM], 2000) described a compelling vision for mathematics education in the United States calling for high-quality instruction, knowledgeable teachers, ambitious expectations, and engaging curriculum. One aspect of this vision, knowledgeable teachers, has been the subject of many studies as researchers attempt to determine what types of teacher knowledge are important in the development of effective teachers. In addition, factors that impact the development of teacher knowledge have also been investigated. The beliefs of teachers, including teaching efficacy, are one such factor. This dissertation presents findings from a study that examined the relationship between mathematics teacher efficacy and the growth in specialized mathematical content knowledge of preservice elementary teachers. The participants in this study were 101 elementary education majors enrolled in a two-course mathematics content and methods sequence at a mid-sized, mid-western university located in a small city. Two dimensions of mathematics teacher efficacy, personal mathematics teacher efficacy and mathematics teaching outcome expectancy, were measured using the Mathematics Teaching Efficacy Beliefs Instrument (Enochs, Smith, and Huinker, 2000). Specialized mathematical content knowledge was measured using items developed by the Learning Mathematics for Teaching (LMT) project, and common mathematical content knowledge was measured using an instrument developed and used at another university. The findings of this study indicate that the level of specialized mathematics content knowledge of preservice teachers increased significantly during the mathematics methods/content course. Personal mathematics teacher efficacy, mathematics teaching outcome expectancy, and common mathematical content knowledge also increased significantly. Significant correlations were found among several of the variables assessed in the study, including personal mathematics teacher efficacy and specialized mathematical content knowledge. However, neither dimension of mathematics teacher efficacy significantly predicted growth in specialized mathematical content knowledge. A supplementary analysis revealed that the initial level specialized content knowledge did significantly predict growth in personal mathematics teacher efficacy of female students.
Table of Contents
Introduction -- Review of literature -- Methodology -- Results -- Discussion -- Appendix A. Instrument -- Appendix B. Course syllabi -- Appendix C. Study approval documentation