Teacher Identity and Tensions of Teaching Mathematics in High-Stakes Accountability Contexts

  • Jill Marie Neumayer DePiperEmail author
Part of the Research in Mathematics Education book series (RME)


Teachers in a high-stakes accountability context, or a teaching context characterized by public pressure to improve school performance, particularly on standardized exams (e.g., Rinke and Valli, Teachers College Record 112, 645–684, 2010), feel increased accountability pressures from their schools and districts. Accountability pressures such as curriculum standards and large-scale testing push teachers toward instructional practices that are less focused on rigorous mathematics and more focused on skill-based teaching and coverage of content (e.g., Horn, Journal of the Learning Sciences 16, 37–79, 2007). This study of elementary teacher candidates’ (TCs) identities found that teachers experienced various tensions related to how they understood their own positioning when discussing mathematics teaching and practices in the actual socio–political contexts and constraints of schooling, specifically in high-stakes accountability teaching contexts. Analysis indicates a relationship between understandings of their positioning and the related tensions of teaching in high accountability teaching contexts. The implications of this analysis suggest increased attention to teacher identity—specifically as related to mathematics teacher practice, teacher positioning, and the personal tensions that TCs experience when teaching in high accountability contexts—in mathematics teacher education.


Teacher identity Preservice teacher education 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Education Development Center, Inc.WalthamUSA

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