Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.

Department (Legacy)

Department of Teaching and Learning

Committee Chair

Karp, Karen, 1951-

Author's Keywords

University supervisors; Teacher candidate's beliefs; Coaching; Teacher education program evaluation; Mathematics education


Mathematics teachers--Training of; Student teaching; Mathematics teachers--In-service training


Teacher candidates enter teacher preparation programs with grounded beliefs about teaching and learning. These beliefs are especially problematic in the area of mathematics, as they hinder instructional decisions (Karp 1988, 1991; Kolstad & Hughes, 1994; Pajaras, 1992, Wilkins, 2002) and maintain a traditional approach for the teaching of mathematics (Beswick, 2006; Wilkins, 2002). Teacher education programs must address these beliefs in order to create a climate for change. A critical influence on teacher candidates is the university supervisor assigned to their field placement site. The supervisor provides the connection between theory and practice during the critical time prior to student teaching (Grossman et al., 2008). As accountability increases for teacher preparation institutions to prove effectiveness of their teacher candidates, all aspects of the program have to be evaluated and supported. University supervisors must be provided with the necessary professional development in order to prevent the disconnect that is possible with that role - between the philosophy of the teacher education program and the reality of the field placement. The purpose of this study was to analyze the impact of providing professional development on the topics of coaching and mathematics pedagogy on the university supervisors' supervision practice and teacher candidates' beliefs and instructional practice. The mixed-methods program evaluation study was designed to answer the following two questions: What are the effects of training university supervisors in mathematics pedagogy and coaching practices on their supervision practices in observing mathematics lessons of elementary teacher candidates? What are the effects of training university supervisors in mathematics education and coaching practices on elementary teacher candidates' beliefs and their instruction in mathematics? This study required approved program changes that included requiring university supervisors to attend professional development and observe all elementary mathematics methods teacher candidates. The study used both qualitative and quantitative data to analyze the impact of the professional development. Qualitative data consisted of background information, observations, and interviews. Quantitative data included Reformed Observation Teaching Protocol (RTOP) scores and belief scores from the Mathematics Beliefs Instrument (MBI) for both the university supervisors and the teacher candidates. Analysis of the data revealed that the supervision practice of the university supervisors changed as a result of the professional development. University supervisors added paraphrasing and mediating questions to their practice. They fostered reflection by allowing the teacher candidates to problem solve. Teacher candidates also experienced changes in their beliefs and instructional practice. This study revealed that professional development does make a difference. By focusing on the university supervisor as part of the education of teacher candidates, the cohesiveness of the teacher preparation program is strengthened. Additional studies are needed to validate these results and extend them into longitudinal studies.