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Journal of Mathematics Teacher Education

, Volume 11, Issue 3, pp 171–197 | Cite as

“Mathematical knowledge for teaching”: adapting U.S. measures for use in Ireland

  • Seán Delaney
  • Deborah Loewenberg Ball
  • Heather C. Hill
  • Stephen G. Schilling
  • Deborah Zopf
Article

Abstract

This article describes a study in which measures of mathematical knowledge for teaching developed in the United States were adapted to measure mathematical knowledge for teaching in Ireland. When adapting the measures it was not assumed that the mathematical knowledge used by Irish and U.S. teachers is the same. Instead psychometric and interview-based methods were used to determine a correspondence between the constructs being measured, and ensure the integrity of item performance in the Irish context. The study found overlap between the knowledge that is used to teach in both Ireland and the United States, and that the items tapped into this knowledge. However, specific findings confirm the usefulness of conducting extensive checks on the validity of items used in cross-national contexts. The process of adaptation is described to provide guidance for others interested in using the items to measure mathematical knowledge for teaching outside the United States. The process also enabled the authors to raise questions about the assumptions that lie behind the practice-based construct of mathematical knowledge for teaching.

Keywords

Mathematical knowledge for teaching Practice of teaching Test Subject matter Ireland United States 

Abbreviations

CCK

Common content knowledge

IRT

Item Response Theory

KCS

Knowledge of content and students

KCT

Knowledge of content and teaching

LMT

Learning Mathematics for Teaching

MKT

Mathematical knowledge for teaching

NCTM

National Council of Teachers of Mathematics

PISA

Program for International Student Assessment

SCK

Specialized content knowledge

TIMSS

Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study

U.S.

United States

Notes

Acknowledgements

The research reported in this article was supported in part by grants from the U.S. Department of Education to the Consortium for Policy Research in Education (CPRE) at the University of Pennsylvania (Grant #OERI-R308A60003) and the Center for the Study of Teaching and Policy at the University of Washington (Grant #OERI-R308B70003); the National Science Foundation’s Interagency Educational Research Initiative (IERI) to the University of Michigan (Grant #s REC-9979863 & REC-0129421), the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and the Atlantic Philanthropies, the Department of Education and Science (Ireland) grant R/D7/03 and by Coláiste Mhuire Marino, Dublin. Opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors, and do not reflect the views of the U.S. Department of Education, the National Science Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Atlantic Philanthropies, the Department of Education and Science (Ireland) or Coláiste Mhuire Marino, Dublin. The authors would like to thank Hyman Bass, Merrie Blunk, Carolyn Dean, Imani Goffney, Jennifer Lewis, Laurie Sleep, and Mark Hoover Thames for their help in developing aspects of this article. The authors would also like to thank Jeremy Kilpatrick and Larry Ludlow who read and offered feedback on earlier drafts of this article. Thanks also to Dina Tirosh and four anonymous reviewers for helpful comments which improved this article. Errors are the responsibility of the authors.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Seán Delaney
    • 1
    • 2
  • Deborah Loewenberg Ball
    • 2
  • Heather C. Hill
    • 2
  • Stephen G. Schilling
    • 2
  • Deborah Zopf
    • 2
  1. 1.Coláiste MhuireMarino Institute of EducationDublinIreland
  2. 2.University of MichiganAnn ArborUSA

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