Howell & Lai

Building Understanding and Measurement of Secondary Mathematical Knowledge for Teaching (MKT)

Collaborative Project
Heather Howell (PI) & Geoffrey Phelps (Co-PI), Educational Testing Service
Y.-J. Yvonne Lai (PI), University of Nebraska-Lincoln

The National Research Council in 2013 released the report Monitoring Progress toward Successful K-12 STEM Education: A Nation Advancing?, which outlined 14 Indicators as well as the needed research and development to create a system to monitor the quality of STEM education in the nation. This project is funded in response to a Dear Colleague Letter request for research in the Promoting Innovation in Measurement and Evaluation program focused on developing research and tools to advance the nation’s capability to measure these indicators. The researchers in this project will address Indicator 6: Teachers’ science and mathematics content knowledge for teaching. This research builds on a successful program that is developing valid measures of teachers’ Mathematical Knowledge for Teaching (MKT), which indicates that the mathematical knowledge teachers need to be successful with students is different than conventional mathematical knowledge. The research will test two hypotheses as follows: 1). the assessment design theory for elementary MKT assessment items extends to secondary MKT item design; and 2). Strong conventional mathematical knowledge, with a focus on knowledge of advanced mathematics, is more integral to secondary MKT than to elementary MKT. The project will include a convening of experts to identify the implications of the findings for future research and development around Indicator 6 in mathematics.

The project will use items for secondary teacher MKT that have been developed in prior NSF-funded research. The researchers will conduct cognitive interviews to determine the extent to which the teachers correctly respond to the items and the extent to which their rationale for their response is in alignment with the reasoning around specialized knowledge of mathematics for teaching or with conventional mathematical reasoning. The findings of the study will be the focus of an expert forum in which the findings from the study will structure the development of recommendations for the research and development agenda needed to develop valid and reliable indicators of secondary teachers’ understanding of mathematical knowledge for teaching.

See NSF award information: Howell (PI) & Phelps and Lai (PI)

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