Advertisement

Status of Teachers’ Proficiency in Mathematical Knowledge for Teaching at Secondary School Level in Kenya

  • Marguerite Miheso-O’Connor Khakasa
  • Margot Berger
Article

Abstract

Mathematical knowledge for teaching (MKT), defined by Ball (Elementary Journal, 93, 373–397, 1993) as knowledge that is needed to teach mathematics, has been used as a framework by researchers to interrogate various aspects of teaching and learning mathematics. In this article, which draws from a larger study, we show how an in-depth analysis of MKT can illuminate what teachers know and need to learn. This study described here uses MKT theory (Ball, Thames & Phelps, Journal of Teacher Education, 59(5), 389–407, 2008) to develop an assessment tool, the MKT proficiency status tool, to measure and describe teachers’ MKT by proficiency status. The study explores Kenyan teachers’ interpretations of secondary school students’ unusual problem solving solutions from across five mathematics strands. In this article, we share findings from data collected using a MKT task questionnaire. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics and interpreted against the MKT proficiency status tool continuum of fluent, partially fluent, and inadequate. The teacher was the unit of analysis. Findings from the study indicate that teachers’ levels of fluency were not consistent either by mathematical strand or by assessed MKT component. A fluency rate of 9.1 % for mathematical strands and 1.7 % for MKT components was found. The overall description of MKT proficiency status for this study was found to be partially fluent. From this study, we argue that the MKT proficiency status tool details and illuminates teachers’ professional development needs and enables an in-depth analysis of their MKT proficiency status.

Keywords

Assessment tool Mathematical knowledge for teaching Proficiency status Secondary school mathematics in Kenya 

References

  1. Adler, J., Davis, Z. & Kazima, M. (2005). The re-emergence of subject knowledge for teaching, its significance and an agenda for research. Working paper #6, QUANTUM. Johannesburg: University of the Witwatersrand.Google Scholar
  2. An, S., Kulm, G. & Wu, Z. (2004). The pedagogical content knowledge of middle school, mathematics teachers in China and the U.S. Journal of Mathematics Teacher Education, 7, 145–172.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Ball, D. (1993). With an eye on the mathematics horizon, dilemmas of teaching elementary school mathematics. The Elementary Journal, 93, 373–397.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Ball, D. & Bass, H. (2003). Making mathematics reasonable in school. In G. Martin (Ed.), Research compendium for the principles and standards for school mathematics (pp. 27–44). Reston, VA: National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.Google Scholar
  5. Ball, D. L. & Bass, H. (2009). With an eye on the mathematical horizon: Knowing mathematics for teaching to learners’ mathematical futures. Paper presented at the 43rd Jahrestagung der Gesellschaft für Didaktik der Mathematik, Oldenburg, Germany. Retrieved from www.mathematik.Uni-dortmundide/ieem/BzMU/BzMU2009/BzMU2009-inhalt.
  6. Ball, D. L., Thames, M. H. & Phelps, G. (2008). Content knowledge for teaching: what makes it special? Journal of Teacher Education, 59(5), 389–407.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Chi, M., Glaser, R. & Rees, E. (1982). Expertise in problem solving. In R. Sternberg (Ed.), Advances in psychology of human intelligence (Vol. 1, pp. 7–75). Hillsdale, MI: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  8. Hill, H. C., Rowan, B. & Ball, D. L. (2008). Effects of teachers’ mathematical knowledge for teaching on student achievement. American Educational Research Journal, 42, 371–406.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Hill, H. C., Schilling, S. G. & Ball, D. L. (2004). Developing measures of teachers’ mathematical knowledge for teaching. The Elementary School Journal, 105, 11–30.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Kahan, J., Cooper, D. & Bethea, K. (2003). The role of mathematics teacher’s content knowledge in their teaching. A framework for research applied to a study of student teachers. Journal of Mathematics Teacher Education, 6, 223–252.Google Scholar
  11. Ma, L. (1999). Knowing and teaching elementary mathematics: Teachers understanding of mathematics in China and the United States. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  12. Miheso-O’Connor Khakasa, M. (2011). Proficiency in pedagogical content knowledge for teaching mathematics; Secondary school mathematics teachers’ interpretations of students’ problem solving strategies in Kenya. Germany: VDM Verlag Dr. Müller.Google Scholar
  13. National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (2000). Professional standards of teaching mathematics. Reston, VA: Author.Google Scholar
  14. Shulman, I. S. (1987). Knowledge and teaching foundations of the new reform. Harvard Educational Review, 57(1), 1–22.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Wanjala, E. (1996). Misconceptions of secondary school pupils in algebra and teacher strategies in identifying and counteracting the errors (Unpublished doctoral thesis). Leeds University, UK.Google Scholar
  16. Wilson, S. M., Shulman, I. S. & Richert, A. F. (1987). ‘150 different ways’ of knowing: Presentations of knowledge in teaching. In J. Alderhead (Ed.), Exploring teachers’ thinking (pp. 104–124). London, England: Casell Educational Limited.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Ministry of Science and Technology, Taiwan 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marguerite Miheso-O’Connor Khakasa
    • 1
  • Margot Berger
    • 1
  1. 1.Marang Centre, School of EducationUniversity of WitwatersrandJohannesburgSouth Africa

Personalised recommendations