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Analyzing prospective mathematics teachers’ diagnostic processes in a simulated environment

  • Diagnostic competences are an essential facet of teacher competence. Many studies have investigated the quality of teachers’ judgments of students’ competences. However, little is known about the processes that lead to these judgments and about the ways to promote these processes in the early phase of teacher training. The aim of the research project on which we report in this paper was to develop a simulated computer-based environment that allows assessing and promoting the diagnostic processes of prospective teachers. In the simulated environment, ‘virtual third-graders’ solve mathematical problems. Participants are asked to diagnose the students’ competence levels according to a theoretical model, which has been empirically validated. Participants can repeatedly select mathematical problems of varying difficulty levels, assign them to a virtual student, and then receive the student’s written solution. In this paper, we present the conceptualization of the simulated environment. We also report on the results of a pilot study with 91 prospective primary school mathematics teachers to analyze whether the environment allows an assessment of individual differences in diagnostic processes. The majority of participants rated the environment as authentic and as one in which they could become immersed. Overall, participants were fairly accurate in their diagnoses concerning the student’s competence level. However, log data and participants’ written notes indicated that there was large variability in their diagnostic processes. Participants varied greatly in the number of mathematical problems they assigned to a student during their diagnostic process, and in how strongly the difficulty of these problems deviated from the student’s true competence level. Overall, the data suggest that the simulated environment has the potential to assess diagnostic processes in a valid way. We discuss open questions and issues for further development.

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Author:Angelika Wildgans-Lang, Sarah Scheuerer, Andreas ObersteinerORCiD, Frank Fischer, Kristina Reiss
Parent Title (English):ZDM - Mathematics Education
Publisher:Springer Berlin Heidelberg
Document Type:Article
Date of first Publication:2020/05/01
Release Date:2023/05/25
Tag:Competence level; Competence level model; Diagnostic activities; Diagnostic processes; Simulated environment; Teacher education
GND Keyword:-
First Page:241
Last Page:254
Open Access:Frei zugänglich
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - CC BY - Namensnennung 4.0 International