Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Education



First Advisor

Cornelis de Groot


Research has shown that there are different types of knowledge possessed by teachers that impact their effectiveness as practitioners. These types of teacher knowledge have been connected to student achievement, teacher retention, teacher efficacy, and teacher quality. Currently, there is a gap in the literature about how secondary mathematics teachers develop their knowledge for teaching, known as Pedagogical Content Knowledge (PCK), during the transition from pre-service to in-service teaching. Understanding how this knowledge develops and individuals’ perceptions of their development has implications for teacher preparation programs and school leaders.

The goal of this study was to investigate the development of beginning secondary mathematics teachers’ pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) about teaching and learning mathematics over the course of the first year of teaching. Taking into account the concerns about beginning secondary mathematics teachers’ preparedness to enter the profession and the gap in the research on PCK development during the transition from teacher pre-service to in-service teaching, I conducted a qualitative study. Data were compiled from multiple sources: a PCK inventory, interviews, classroom observations, and a survey. Each source provided information for understanding how beginning secondary mathematics teachers developed their PCK and their perceptions of their development.

Findings from this study indicated that PCK developed primarily from participants’ experiences working with students. The role of reflection and collaboration with others was also found to be instrumental in PCK development. Having opportunities to develop all aspects of knowledge was not always available for participants in all situations. At times, there were PCK tasks that were beyond to scope of the given experience or teachers were limited in their freedom to exercise their knowledge. This data demonstrated that participants needed opportunities and the agency to act on those opportunities to develop their PCK. My data also suggest the development of knowledge in the different domains of PCK does not happen in isolation. Instead, different domains and types of knowledge develop in parallel.



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