Source: Journal of Teacher Education, 61(1-2), p. 172–181. (January/February 2010).
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)
This study explores the relationship between teacher knowledge and student learning in the area of mathematics. The authors’ assumption was that it is the knowledge that is accessed during instruction that is most likely to affect student learning from instruction.
The authors used an innovative approach to assessing teacher knowledge. This approach is based on teachers’ analyses of classroom video clips. Teachers watched 13 video clips of classroom instruction and then provided written comments on the interactions of the teacher, students, and content.
The authors’ analysis addressed two questions: (1) How do teachers’ scored responses to the video clips (CVA) compare to their scores on the MKT, and what does this suggest for the kind of knowledge both measures capture?
(2) How does the knowledge measured by the CVA and MKT relate to student learning?
Teachers completed three measures as part of this study: the classroom video analysis (CVA) measure on teaching fractions, an MKT scale comprising items assessing teachers’ fraction knowledge for teaching, and a background survey.
Results indicated that teacher scores on the CVA were strongly related to their mathematics knowledge for teaching as measured by the MKT. The results suggest that the nature of the mathematical knowledge teachers draw on when analyzing the clips and when answering MKT items is similar.
The authors then explored for a subset of teachers whether the knowledge measured by the CVA predicted their own students’ learning. The authors found that one subscale of the CVA—making suggestions for instructional improvement—emerged as a statistically significant predictor of student learning. That is, students of teachers who included suggestions for instructional improvement that they connected to mathematical content showed greater learning gains than did students of teachers who included either general pedagogical suggestions or no suggestions at all.
The findings also suggest that attempts to improve teachers’ knowledge as a means to improve student learning are missing a critical part of the picture. Just having knowledge is not enough; it may be equally important that knowledge be organized and accessible in a flexible way.
The authors conclude that using the video analysis as a window into teachers’ knowledge allows them to assess teacher knowledge more easily than with traditional instruments.