Subject Knowledge in Mathematics






This research project is the outcome of an ongoing collaboration between researchers at four Universities: Cambridge, York, Durham and the Institute of Education, University of London.

The 1998 National Curriculum for Initial Teacher Training in England requires teacher educators to audit prospective teachers' subject knowledge in the core subjects of English, Mathematics and Science. Where 'gaps' are found, these are to be 'filled' by the end of the training course. The researchers take subject knowledge in mathematics to mean the amount and organisation of such knowledge, including substantive (key facts, concepts etc.) and syntactic (the rules of evidence and proof) elements.

Our work currently focuses on the following issues and questions:

  • the relationship between subject knowledge and teaching;
  • how subject knowledge is evidenced in the classroom, including particular ways that strong or weak mathematics subject knowledge affect the teaching of elementary mathematics;
  • students ('trainees') who make the greatest gains in subject knowledge over the training year, and those whose subject knowledge remains weak;
  • the trainees' attitudes towards mathematics, their confidence and their
    strategies for addressing weaknesses.