Using teacher capacity to measure improvement in key elements of teachers’ mathematical pedagogical content knowledge
AuthorMcKee, Sara Jane
AffiliationMelbourne Graduate School of Education
Access StatusOpen Access
© 2016 Dr. Sara Jane McKee
School systems world-wide are investing increasing resources in assessment of students. The challenge is to gain value for teachers from this process. This study examined how we can use a construct of teacher capacity to identify improvements in teachers’ knowledge of Mathematics, their knowledge of the curriculum, their understanding of student’s mathematical thinking, and their ability to design and implement effective mathematics instruction as a result of using online diagnostic assessments (SMART tests- Specific Mathematical Assessments that Reveal Thinking.) Two principal challenges were addressed in this study: the first concerns how to translate a theoretical construct of teacher capacity in ways that truly reflect the professionally informed judgement and disposition to act. The second challenge was to design and use measures that would show improvement of teacher capacity over time as a result of using SMART tests. This study used innovative approaches involving teacher self-reports that were supported by evidence derived from a content specific questionnaire, related to the four elements of teacher capacity identified previously. The research study was carried out in the researcher’s school. 14 teachers used SMART tests over the course of one semester. All teachers showed improvement in teacher capacity as a result of implementing SMART tests, however improved teacher capacity was most evident amongst accomplished and expert teachers. The use of SMART tests also had a direct impact on teacher planning and informed classroom instruction. The study concludes with recommendations for future research in schools and in pre-service teacher education, utilising online diagnostic assessments of students. This study provides insight into what teacher capacity means in an educational setting, and how leaders in schools can effectively measure and improve teacher capacity in a school setting.
Keywordsonline formative assessment; teacher capacity; mathematics; middle years
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