Dissertations and Theses @ UNI


Open Access Dissertation


Mathematics teachers--Training of--Iowa; Mathematics--Study and teaching (Elementary)--Iowa;


This study sought to understand the process of change elementary teachers experienced as they participated in mathematics professional development. This investigation explored the impact of mathematics professional development on teachers' content knowledge for teaching, their ability to implement innovative pedagogical practices, and the relationship between these two components of teacher change. Data collected from a semester-long professional development course involving 20 teachers from rural southwest Iowa was analyzed for this study.

Data was collected from six teachers involved in the professional development course. Data collected during the professional development course included a pre and post test of teachers' content knowledge, a questionnaire designed to determine teachers' feelings about implementing innovative practice, online discussion posts, and observation notes. Concerns Based Adoption Model tools and techniques were used to analyze the data.

The results of the study indicated that the professional development experiences increased five of the six teachers' content knowledge. More dramatic increases occurred with teachers who measured lower levels of content knowledge at the beginning of the course. As a result of the professional development, teachers' concerns about implementing innovative pedagogical practices were altered. Concerns shifted from the need for information, personal concerns, and concerns about management of the innovative pedagogical practice to concerns about collaborating with colleagues and adjusting the innovation to achieve greater impact on students. Five of the six teachers achieved basic use of the innovation while four of the six teachers implemented the innovation with fidelity to the model.

Teachers who entered the professional development experience with higher mathematical content knowledge tended to shift their concerns towards students with greater immediacy. These teachers more readily shifted from concerns for self to concerns about the impact of the innovation on students. Teachers who entered the professional development experience with lower mathematical content knowledge tended to maintain higher levels of concern. Higher levels of use of the innovation were achieved for teachers who entered the professional development experience with higher mathematical content knowledge. The ability to implement the innovation with fidelity to the model was not impacted by the teachers' level of mathematical content knowledge.

Three patterns emerged from the data related to the research questions. Teachers who possessed higher content knowledge tended to adapt to change more easily. These teachers tended to reflect behaviors that indicate higher levels of use of innovation. Higher levels of content knowledge did not tend to impact teachers' ability to implement innovative teaching practices with fidelity.

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Department of Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor

Lynn E. Nielsen, Committee Chair

Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (xii, 156 pages)



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