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Teacher Pedagogical Content Knowledge for Using Learning Progressions

Abstract

"Over the past decade, research on learning progressions has led to important advances in understanding how student ideas change over time. Yet research into teachers' uses of learning progressions and related curriculum materials in classrooms has demonstrated the challenges of supporting teachers in effectively using learning progressions for instruction. Two important factors that may influence how teachers use learning progressions are teachers' content knowledge and pedagogical content knowledge (PCK). In this paper we explore the relationships among content knowledge, PCK, and a learning progression for model-based reasoning about water in environmental systems. We examined three dimensions of PCK: Knowlege of curriculum (KC-LG), knowledge of students (KS), and knowledge of instruction (KI). We developed assessments to measure teacher content knowledge and PCK in the domain of water moving through environmental systems. Results show that teachers' content knowledge and PCK mostly aligned with knowledge for teaching phenomenological reasoning and not model-based reasoning. Teachers' content knowledge and PCK changed little as a result of using learning progression-based curriculum materials for instruction. The most significant changes were in teachers' KC-LG and KS, but not in KI. Teachers' overall PCK did have a medium-size positive correlation to teacher effect size on student learning, with teachers whose learning goals aligned more closely with the domain of the water learning progression having the most significant effect. Our findings contribute to understanding the role of content knowledge and PCK on teachers' understanding and use of learning progression-based innovations to support students in reaching model-based reasoning."

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