Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Curriculum and Instruction

First Committee Member

Sandra Odell

Second Committee Member

Jian Wang

Number of Pages



How required teacher knowledge is obtained is debated in today's educational context. This dichotomy in acquisition of teacher knowledge between university training including content and pedagogy versus classroom experiences combined with strong subject background has become particularly important as the U.S. seeks to find key components to increase student achievement and to improve education. International comparisons indicating the U.S. consistently lags behind top-performing countries have spurred such efforts; Review of existing literature exposed differences in what is considered necessary knowledge for effective teaching, and where such knowledge can be developed. Types of knowledge and where such knowledge is acquired are examined. A gap in the body of knowledge is identified followed by a description to begin to fill it. An examination of international mathematical comparisons, typically resulting in an Asian-U.S. comparison, is included. Justification is provided to analyze Germany to challenge current assumptions concerning teacher knowledge and the role thereof on student achievement. German teachers receive increased content and pedagogy training, yet German students score only average on international mathematics comparisons; To understand better the impact of reforms calling for increased teacher subject content knowledge, further investigation into teachers' understanding of subject content knowledge along with contributions to such knowledge was conducted. To investigate this issue three research questions emerged: Do German mathematics teachers possess the knowledge and skills to solve correctly basic mathematics problems? Can they translate this knowledge into accurate representations? According to them, what is the contribution of teacher education and classroom experiences in building teacher knowledge? A qualitative interview project approach involving surveys and interviews was utilized; Findings indicate that German mathematics teachers possess the knowledge and skills to solve basic mathematical problems correctly implying solid subject content knowledge; however, are not as successful in generating accurate representations and explanations implying a limited pedagogical content knowledge. According to these teachers, teacher preparation courses contributed to pedagogical not content knowledge while classroom experiences were valued as contributing to both types of knowledge. Results can inform educational policies, practices, and reforms in the U.S., and provide a basis for further research, with increased student achievement the ultimate goal.


Comparative Education; Content; German; Germany; International Study; Knowledge; Mathematics; Pedagogical Content Knowledge; Subject; Subject Content Knowledge; Teachers

Controlled Subject

Curriculum planning; Mathematics--Study and teaching

File Format


File Size

3287.04 KB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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