Assessing knowledge to teach early algebra from the Mathematical Knowledge for Teaching (MKT) perspective: A support tool for primary school teachers

Research about the optimal methodologies for guiding the training of primary school instructors in the instruction of early algebra remains in the process of determination. This manuscript delineates the methodology involved in developing and validating an assessment tool to evaluate the mathematical acumen of prospective primary educators in the domain of early algebra during their initial pedagogical training, drawing upon the constructs delineated in the Mathematical Knowledge for Teaching (MKT) model. To this end, an instrumental inquiry comprising four distinct phases has been executed: an exhaustive review of extant literature concerning the mathematical proficiency of primary school instructors and the pedagogy of early algebra; formulation of the preliminary version of the assessment instrument; validation of said instrument via expert appraisal and a preliminary application involving ten pre-service primary educators enrolled in a Spanish academic institution; and subsequent refinement and finalization of the assessment tool. This endeavor's outcome culminated in the MKT-Early Algebra Questionnaire (6-12-year-olds), comprising six open-ended inquiries meticulously designed to explore diverse facets of early algebra while aligning with the various sub-domains delineated in the MKT model. It is deduced that the resultant instrument holds promise as an effective diagnostic apparatus, serving dual purposes: elucidating the mathematical proficiency of primary school educators in the context of early algebra and fostering introspection regarding pedagogical strategies conducive to the cultivation of algebraic cognition at this developmental juncture. By furnishing a comprehensive questionnaire that systematically addresses all facets of pedagogical knowledge requisite for the effective instruction of early algebra, this study furnishes invaluable insights into the specific components that should be integrated into teacher education curricula in the domain of algebraic didactics ​
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