Aims & Theoretical Framework

Aims | Theoretical Framework


In a quasi-experimental validation study with pre-service and in-service teachers of mathematics and economics, the ELMaWi project team pursues two key objectives:

  1. to examine by means of innovative assessment designs the validity of the assessment of subject-specific teacher competency, that is, their knowledge as well as their ability to respond appropriately in challenging situations in the classroom, and
  2. to examine the validity of the modeling of domain-specific and generic components of teacher competency.

With a subsample of pre-service and in-service teachers, domain-specific competencies, non-domain-specific competencies, and the influence of expertise are analyzed. This framework covers:

  1. the in-depth validation of the competency structure model, which differentiates between domain-specific and non-domain-specific competencies, as well as
  2. the associated instruments for competency assessment of pre-service and in-service teachers in both domains; this includes testing with computer-based test formats to facilitate the valid assessment of action-based teacher competency.

Particular focus is on explaining the test results in terms of their domain-specificity (mathematics or economics) as well as their non-domain-specific proportions. By means of different expertise groups, we examine whether a change in competency can be mapped over the various stages of teacher education.
By providing a validated competency model and corresponding tests, the project contributes to a better understanding across domains and to the structure of subject-specific teacher competency. Moreover, as the sample includes the domains of mathematics and economics as well as the three professionalization phases of teacher education in Germany (university students, teacher trainees, and fully-qualified teachers), valid interpretations of test values can be examined.

Theoretical Framework

This project is based on a competency structure model by Lindmeier (2011) and Kuhn (2014) which focuses on the situational requirements of teaching and differentiates between two components of domain-specific teacher competency: reflective competency (RC) and action-related competency (AC). RC is needed to prepare and evaluate specific subject-related situations during pre- and post-instructional phases, and AC is needed to handle specific subject-related situations during instruction and under time pressure. While RC requires conscious (reflective) cognitive processes that draw on domain-specific propositional knowledge (content knowledge (CK) and pedagogical content knowledge (PCK)), AC also requires knowledge but usually involves intuitively controlled or automated (less reflective) cognitive processes. In addition to central domain-specific constructs (RC, AC, CK, PCK), both domain models include basic cognitive competency (facets of intelligence), generic competency (complex problem-solving and situational awareness) as well as the degree of expertise in teaching (university students, teacher trainees, and teachers) as non-domain-specific variables.

By investigating teacher competency in the two different but related subjects of mathematics and economics, we are able to examine the validity of the assessment across domains.

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