The FIRSTMATH Study: Concepts, Methods, and Strategies for Comparative International Research in Mathematics Education



This chapter introduces the reader to the methods and findings of a National Science Foundation (NSF) funded proof-of-concept (PoC) research study of the first 5 years of teaching primary and secondary school mathematics (FIRSTMATH) using a comparative and international approach. Throughout the book, we discuss the challenges entailed in the development of concepts, methods, and strategies for scaling such a study. The research reported in this book builds from the methods and findings of the Teacher Education Development Study in Mathematics (TEDS-M), and earlier studies that have explored the experiences of beginning teachers. The key question for FIRSTMATH was: How do primary and secondary novice mathematics teachers differ nationally and cross-nationally in their demographic characteristics, preparation, knowledge for teaching, teaching assignments, working conditions, teaching practice, and pupil learning? The FIRSTMATH team developed knowledge tests and background questionnaires for beginning teachers and their pupils, as well as interviews and a mathematics-focused observation protocol to gather more direct evidence of instructional knowledge and practices, and explored an alternative to value added models (VAMs) to model teacher-pupil interactions as teachers pursue instructional goals.


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Copyright information

© The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Mary Lou Fulton Teachers CollegeArizona State UniversityTempeUSA
  2. 2.Educational PsychologyUniversity of MinnesotaMinneapolisUSA
  3. 3.College of EducationMichigan State UniversityEast LansingUSA
  4. 4.Center for Science, Mathematics & Computer EducationUniversity of Nebraska-LincolnLincolnUSA
  5. 5.Faculty of Mathematics and Informatics, the University of SofiaInstitute of Mathematics and Informatics, Bulgarian Academy of SciencesSofiaBulgaria
  6. 6.Oakland Community CollegeEast LansingUSA

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