Exploring the beliefs of preservice teachers : the nature and learning of mathematics and student achievement in mathematics.
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Bentley, Sage (Sandra Jean), 1972-
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The purpose of this study was to identify the beliefs of preservice mathematics teachers with regards to the nature of mathematics, the learning of mathematics, and student achievement in mathematics. Past research indicates that teacher beliefs affect the way they teach as well as influence the students they instruct (Schoenfeld 1992; Thompson 1992); therefore, educators in teacher education programs would be remiss to ignore addressing the beliefs their students hold. The United States has jockeyed for a leading position respect to K-12 mathematical performance compared to other countries since the launching of Sputnik in 1957. After the launch, the United States responded to the deficits in the teaching and learning of mathematics in public schools. Efforts to increase student performance in mathematics in the United States has resulted in little to no change. The purpose of this study is to compare the beliefs of preservice mathematics teachers from Baylor University, a private institution in central Texas, to three countries that all participated in Teacher Education Study in Mathematics (TEDS-M), Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), and Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). The TEDS-M was developed and carried out to identify key components and patterns within teacher preparation programs. Results from TEDS-M provided evidence to support research that students and teachers with conceptual belief systems have a better understanding of mathematics and higher self-esteem (Tatto, Ed., 2013). Results offer insight into the means of Baylor compared to the three other countries. Baylor’s results indicated little to no agreement with calculational belief systems and agreement overall with conceptual belief systems. Significance was found between Baylor and both Countries L and H on a frequent basis; those items having significance tend to support more calculational beliefs and less conceptual beliefs for those countries. Utilizing the most recent Standards published in 2017 by the Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators (AMTE), the continuing need for early, intentional intervention in teacher education programs is discussed. These interventions would serve to strengthen the conceptual belief systems of students in teacher preparation programs encourage eradication of pre-existing bias among gender and ethnic groups.