A recent international study of pre-service teachers identified that proportional reasoning was problematic for pre-service teachers. Proportional reasoning is an important topic in the middle years of schooling and therefore it is critical that teachers understand this topic and can rely on their Mathematical Content Knowledge (MCK) when teaching. The focus of this paper is second-year Australian primary pre-service teachers’ MCK of real number items related to ratio, rate, proportion and proportional reasoning. This paper reports on strengths and weakness of pre-service teachers’ MCK when responding to test items; including a method suitable for analysing responses to five items and ranked by three levels of difficulty. The results revealed insights into their correct methods of solutions and common incorrect responses, identifying difficulty, where multiplication and division were required. The method of coding test items by difficulty ranking may assist with developing an appropriate learning trajectory, which will assist pre-service teachers develop their MCK of this and other difficult topics.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/sandra_herbert/1/