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Linking Teacher Preparation to Student Learning in Mathematics and Science


We propose to examine relationships among pre-service teachers’ developing understanding of learning in mathematics and science, the enactment of these understandings as they begin teaching, and the learning outcomes of their students. The objectives are (1) to inform the design of teacher preparation programs—pushing beyond craft to evidence-based design choices based on models of teacher learning trajectories, and (2) to support the development of appropriate tools to assess the impact of teacher preparation program features on elementary- and middle-school student learning. Research teams at Vanderbilt University and the University of Pittsburgh will document and analyze undergraduate and graduate students’ developing conceptions of mathematics and science learning as they move through their teacher preparation programs and into their first teaching assignment. Analyses of participants’ performances on structured assessments, supplemented by interviews and observations, will be used in a longitudinal design to articulate trajectories of change in participants’ understandings. The research teams will follow a subgroup of participants into the first two years of teaching, using structured observations and interviews to characterize their teaching of target ideas in mathematics and science. Finally, the research teams will assess the learning of participants’ Grade 2-6 students, using tasks that tap understanding of these targeted ideas.