It is generally assumed that in order to teach mathematics effectively, middle years teachers ought to have a high degree of knowledge of mathematics and confidence in their ability to do the mathematics as well as self-efficacy to teach it.
This study examines the content knowledge, mathematics confidence and self-efficacy of 99 graduate-entry pre-service teachers in an Australian school of education. The findings indicate that, in general, their mathematical content knowledge was not strong.
Further, the participants expressed different levels of confidence and self-efficacy for specific concepts, so, while the scale used had high Cronbach’s alpha coefficients, its internal consistency was relatively weak.
That is, confidence and self-efficacy were found to be content specific.
Further, the participants tended to have confidence and self-efficacy scores that, while low, were inconsistent with their ability to do the mathematics; they tended to overestimate their mathematics competency.
The findings with respect to pre-service teachers’ deficit of relevant mathematical knowledge, confidence and self-efficacy have implications for teacher preparation to teach mathematics in the study institution and potentially more broadly in the West.