The Teacher Education and Development Study – Mathematics (TEDS-M) is an international comparative study on teacher education with a focus on the preparation of teachers of mathematics at the primary and lower-secondary levels. The study is carried out under the aegis of the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA), a consortium of research institutions in 60 countries.
TEDS-M pays particular attention to the links between teacher-education policies, practices, and outcomes and how they contribute to teachers' ability to teach mathematics well in elementary and lower-secondary schools. The project includes:
- studies of teacher-education policies, programs, and practices, and their cultural and social contexts;
- studies at the institutional levels of curricula and practices of teacher preparation, including standards, content, and expectations for teacher learning;
- studies of the impact of teacher preparation on the knowledge, skills, and attitudes toward learning acquired by future teachers.
TEDS-M addresses research questions of central importance to policy-makers for improving the effectiveness of the teacher education system:
- the characteristics of teacher education programs that prepare mathematics teachers effectively;
- the learning experiences that are effective in transforming beliefs about teaching and learning mathematics;
- the school experience that are most effective in preparing teachers.
The TEDS-M study took place in 2008, with 17 countries participating: Botswana, Canada, Chile, Georgia, Germany, Malaysia, Norway, Oman, Philippines, Poland, the Russian Federation, Singapore, Spain, Switzerland (German-speaking cantons), Taiwan (Chinese Taipei), Thailand, and the United States.
In Canada, four provinces chose to participate in TEDS-M — Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland and Labrador. These four provinces mandated the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada (CMEC) to act as the National Research Centre responsible for the coordination of the study. The institutions' participation was voluntary, and the institutional response was very low (37 per cent) across the four provinces. In total, 74 teacher educators, 183 future teachers at the elementary level, and 155 future teachers at the secondary level participated in the study. As a result of the low response rates, it was decided that the Canadian sample was not sufficiently representative of the overall population to be included in the international comparisons.
TEDS-M surveyed three populations: institutions, educators, and future teachers.
- Survey of institutions: The two-hour Institutional Program Questionnaire was administered to the person appointed by the institutional coordinator.
- Survey of educators: The 30-minute questionnaire was administered to mathematics, mathematics pedagogy, and general pedagogy educators who were teaching the target population of future teachers at the time of the administration.
- Survey of future teachers: The two-hour questionnaire was administered to future teachers of lower-secondary and elementary mathematics.
In addition to the surveys, content analysis of the teacher-education mathematics curriculum in participating institutions was performed.
The international report was published by IEA in April 2012. Since Canada did not meet the international sampling requirements, the Canadian average score is not part of the international average score. In order to provide further information on teacher education in Canada, CMEC is releasing its own Canadian report with the appropriate cautions regarding the statistical limitations. Results are reported at pan-Canadian level only, but ministries and departments of education have access to the data at provincial/territorial level.
Some conclusions of the pan-Canadian results include:
- Institutions: In general, Canadian institutions do not seem to have very strong requirements in mathematics for individuals wishing to enter into teacher-education programs. Other than assessments to meet the requirements for a course in mathematics or in mathematics education, there is no formal test of the mathematics knowledge or skills of future teachers at the completion of their program of study.
- Educators: Most educators of mathematics or of mathematics pedagogy for future teachers in Canadian universities are specialized in areas other than mathematics, and few hold a doctorate in the discipline. At the international level, about one-quarter of educators who participated in TEDS-M study held a doctorate in mathematics, with a higher proportion in the higher-performing countries. In Canada, 10 per cent of participating educators held a doctorate in mathematics.
- Future teachers: Canadian future teachers at the elementary and lower-secondary levels performed above the international average with regard to knowledge of mathematics and of mathematics pedagogy. At the international level, Chinese Taipei led the 17 countries participating in the study: their future teachers outperformed those from other countries in both evaluated domains (mathematics content and pedagogy content) and at both school levels (elementary and lower-secondary).
Canadian participation in TEDS-M was made possible through close collaboration between CMEC, institutional coordinators, and survey administrators.