Proceedings of the 5th International Conference on Language, Education and Innovation 2016

A Mixed-Methods Investigation of Teacher Developmental Trajectories: Results from a STEM-Focused Program

Margareta Maria Thomson, Temple Walkowiak, Carrie Lee

North Carolina State University, USA


The current study investigated developmental trajectories of elementary teachers from a STEM-focused program at a large university in the United States. A mixed-methods design was employed; quantitative and qualitative data were collected to measure participants’ mathematics specialized knowledge and beliefs (i.e., efficacy and epistemological beliefs), dispositions, and attitudes. Data was collected at different time points during participants’ elementary teacher preparation program (ETPP) and into their first two years of teaching. Each time point in data collection represented a critical event for participants: time 1-beginning of ETPP; time 2-beginning of professional coursework; time 3-end of methods courses/beginning of field experiences; time 4- end of ETPP/beginning of 1st year teaching; time 5-end of 1st year teaching; time 6-end of 2nd year teaching. Study results revealed that all participants experienced changes in their mathematical knowledge, beliefs (i.e., efficacy and epistemic), dispositions, and attitudes over time. Participants’ developmental trajectory in mathematics knowledge indicated growth from time 2 to time 5 followed by a decline at time 6; efficacy and dispositions followed a similar track, showing increase from time 2 to 4 and a decrease at time 5. Participants’ epistemological beliefs and attitudes indicated continued increase at each time point (from time 2 to time 6). Qualitative data augment quantitative findings and provided more depth about participants’ experiences in the program, factors that facilitated development, and the context in which changes occurred. Contributions from this study can help teacher preparation programs think about ways to facilitate teachers’ professional growth.


Beliefs; Knowledge; Teacher Preparation; STEM Program

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