Future teachers' developing numeracy and mathematical competence as assessed by two diagnostic tests

Year: 2006

Author: Afamasaga-Fuata'i, Karoline, Meyer, Paul, Falo, Naomi, Sufia, Perenise

Type of paper: Refereed paper

This paper reports the findings of the first year of a longitudinal numeracy project established to monitor the development of some student teachers' numeracy and mathematical competence. The sample included a group of pre-service students who are enrolled in the Foundation and Primary Education Programs. Data presented here is from the Second Mathematics Diagnostic Test (MDT2) administered in October 2005. Student responses from the two diagnostic tests were analysed using the dichotomous Rasch Measurement Model. Results from the First Diagnostic Testing (MDT1) showed that no one achieved mastery level. A comparison of student performance on both MDT1 and MDT2 was conducted to (a) identify any developmental trends for the group between testing and (b) determine the extent of the impact of normal mathematics content and mathematics education courses on students' numeracy and competence levels. Preliminary findings show that there was improvement in the performance of students by the second testing as a group. The paper will present and discuss performance of sub-groups and selected individuals. Findings will inform the development of customized enrichment programs to re-dress students' numeracy needs before exit. Implications for the teaching of primary mathematics and mathematics education courses are provided.

Keywords: numeracy, mathematical competence, primary mathematics, misconceptions, diagnostic testing, mathematics pedagogical content knowledge