Understanding the characteristics of mathematical knowledge for teaching algebra in high schools and community colleges

Inah Ko, Vilma Mesa, Irene Duranczyk, Patricio Herbst, Nidhi Kohli, April Ström, Laura Watkins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

In this paper, we examine the relationships between teachers’ subject matter preparation and experience in teaching and their performance on an instrument measuring mathematical knowledge for teaching Algebra 1. We administered the same instrument to two different samples of teachers−high school practicing teachers and community college faculty − who teach the same algebra content in different levels of institutions, and we compared the performance of the two different samples and the relationships between the measured knowledge and their educational and teaching background across the samples. The comparison suggested that the community college faculty possess a higher level of mathematical knowledge for teaching Algebra 1 than high school teachers. The subsequent analyses using the Multiple Indicator Multiple Causes (MIMIC) models based on our hypothesis on the factors contributing to the differences in the knowledge between the two teacher samples suggest that experience teaching advanced algebra courses has positive effects on the mathematical knowledge for teaching Algebra 1 in both groups. Highlighting the positive effect of algebra-based teaching experience on test performance, we discuss the implications of the impact of subject specific experience in teaching on teachers’ mathematical content knowledge for teaching.

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The sample of community college faculty responses for this work was provided by the US National Science Foundation grant EHR #1561436 to Laura Watkins.

Funding Information:
The sample of high school teacher responses was collected with support of the US National Science Foundation grant DRL #0918425 to Patricio Herbst.

Funding Information:
The sample of community college faculty responses for this work was provided by the National Science Foundation Award EHR #1561436 to Laura Watkins. The national sample of high school teacher responses to the MKT-A items was collected with support of the US National Science Foundation grant DRL #0918425 to Patricio Herbst. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation. The AI@CC Research group includes: Megan Breit-Goodwin, Anoka-Ramsey Community College; Anne Cawley, California State University, Pomona; April Ström, Chandler-Gilbert Community College; Randy Nichols, Delta College; Anna Bright, Patrick Kimani, Fern Van Vliet, and Laura Watkins, Glendale Community College; Angeliki Mali, University of Groningen; David Tannor, Indiana Wesleyan University; Jon Oaks, Macomb Community College; Nicole Lang, North Hennepin Community College; Carla Stroud, and Judy Sutor, Scottsdale Community College; Saba Gerami and Vilma Mesa, University of Michigan; Bismark Akoto, Irene Duranczyk, Nidhi Kohli, Rik Lamm, Dexter Lim, and Corissa Wurth, University of Minnesota. Colleges and authors are listed alphabetically. We thank the participants; without them this work would not have been possible.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

Keywords

  • algebra
  • community college
  • experience
  • high school
  • mathematics teaching
  • Teacher knowledge

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Understanding the characteristics of mathematical knowledge for teaching algebra in high schools and community colleges'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this