Explaining Student Achievement: the Influence of Teachers’ Pedagogical Content Knowledge in Statistics
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Statistics is an increasingly important component of the mathematics curriculum. StatSmart was a project intended to influence middle-years students’ learning outcomes in statistics through the provision of appropriate professional learning opportunities and technology to teachers. Participating students in grade 5/6 to grade 9 undertook three tests, a pre-test, a post-test and a longitudinal retention test over a period of 2 years. Their teachers completed a survey that included items measuring pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) for teaching statistics. Despite the development of valid instruments to measure both student and teacher content knowledge and teachers’ PCK, linking teachers’ knowledge directly to students’ learning outcomes has proved elusive. Multilevel modelling of results from 789 students for whom there were 3 completed tests and measures from their teachers indicated that students’ outcomes were influenced positively by their initial teacher’s PCK. Extended participation of teachers in the project also appeared to reduce negative effects of changing teachers.
KeywordsMiddle years Pedagogical content knowledge Statistics Student achievement
This project was funded by Australian Research Grant No. LP0669106 in collaboration with the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Key Curriculum Press and The Baker Centre for School Mathematics, Prince Alfred College, Adelaide, South Australia.
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