Undergraduate Students’ Perceptions of the Mathematics Courses Included in the Primary School Teacher Education Program

Mehmet Koray Serin, Semahat Incikabi

APA 6th edition
Serin, M.K., & Incikabi, S. (2017). Undergraduate Students’ Perceptions of the Mathematics Courses Included in the Primary School Teacher Education Program. European Journal of Educational Research, 6(4), 541-552. doi:10.12973/eu-jer.6.4.541

Serin M.K., and Incikabi S. 2017 ' Undergraduate Students’ Perceptions of the Mathematics Courses Included in the Primary School Teacher Education Program', European Journal of Educational Research , vol. 6, no. 4, pp. 541-552. Available from: http://dx.doi.org/10.12973/eu-jer.6.4.541

Chicago 16th edition
Serin, Mehmet Koray and Incikabi, Semahat . " Undergraduate Students’ Perceptions of the Mathematics Courses Included in the Primary School Teacher Education Program". (2017)European Journal of Educational Research 6, no. 4(2017): 541-552. doi:10.12973/eu-jer.6.4.541


Mathematics educators have reported on many issues regarding students’ mathematical education, particularly students who received mathematics education at different departments such as engineering, science or primary school, including their difficulties with mathematical concepts, their understanding of and preferences for mathematical concepts. This study aimed to investigate the opinions of primary-school teacher education students in terms of their perceptions of difficulty level of the mathematics courses, change in their achievement, if there is any, and interest in mathematics after completing these courses, and factors affecting their achievement and interest level in these courses. Being qualitative in nature, this study was a case study. The data were analyzed using the content analysis and descriptive methods. According to the results, most students stated that they faced mathematics course content with unexpected level of difficulty. After taking basic mathematics courses, the percentage of students with decreased level of interest and achievement in mathematics was found higher than the students who experienced an increase in their interest and achievement. Students underlined such significant factors for the change of their interest and achievement in mathematics as prior knowledge, lecturer(s), and content coverage. Finally, most of the students viewed mathematics courses as a beneficiary tool for their professional development.

Keywords: Primary school teacher education, undergraduate students, mathematics courses, mathematics education.


Alkan, V. (2009). The relationship between teaching strategies and styles and pupils' anxiety in mathematics at primary schools in Turkey (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). University of Nottingham.

Arnon, S., & Reichel, N. (2007). Who is the ideal teacher? Am I? Similarity and difference in perception of students of education regarding the qualities of a good teacher and of their own qualities as teachers. Teachers and Teaching: Theory and Practice13(5), 441-464.

Artzt, A. F., Sultan, A., Curcio, F. R., & Gurl, T. (2012). A capstone mathematics course for prospective secondary mathematics teachers. Journal of Mathematics Teacher Education, 15(3), 251-262.

Baki, A. (2014). Kuramdan uygulamaya matematik egitimi [Mathematics education from theory into practice]. Ankara: Harf Egitim Yayıncılık

Baykul, Y. (2014). Ilkokulda matematik ogretimi [Mathematics education in primary school]. Ankara: Pegem Akademi

Beswick, K. (2012). Teachers' beliefs about school mathematics and mathematicians' mathematics and their relationship to practice. Educational Studies in Mathematics79(1), 127-147.

Bingolbali, E., Monaghan, J., & Roper, T. (2007). Engineering students’ conceptions of the derivative and some implications for their mathematical education. International Journal of Mathematical Education in Science and Technology38(6), 763-777.

Bingolbali, E., & Ozmantar, M. F. (2009). Factors shaping mathematics lecturers’ service teaching in different departments. International Journal of Mathematical Education in Science and Technology, 40(5), 597-617.

Boz, N. (2008). Turkish pre-service mathematics teachers’ beliefs about mathematics teaching. Australian Journal of Teacher Education33(5).

Britton, S., New, P.,Sharma, M., & Yardley, D. (2005). A case study of the transfer of mathematics skills by university students. International Journal of Mathematical Education in Science and Technology, 38, 13.

Charalambos, C., Philippou, G., & Kyriakides, L. (2002). Towards understanding teachers' philosophical beliefs about mathematics. Paper presented at the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education (PME), Norwich UK.

Charalambous, C., Panaoura, A., & Philippou, G. (2009). Using the history of mathematics to induce changes in preservice teachers' beliefs and attitudes: insights from evaluating a teacher education program. Educational Studies in Mathematics, 71(2), 161-180.

Clarkson, P.C., Bishop, A., FitzSimons, G., & Seah, W. (2000). Challenges and constraints in researching values. In J.Bana & A.Chapman (Eds.), Mathematics education beyond 2000 (pp. 188-195). Perth: Mathematics Education Research Group of Australasia.

Cooke, A. & Hurst, C. (2013). Relationships between mathematics anxiety, confidence to teach mathematics, and attitudes towards mathematics in pre-service teachers. Paper presented at CIEAEM 65, Turin, Italy, 22-26 July, 2013.

Darling-Hammond, L. (2000). Teacher quality and student achievement: A review of state policy evidence. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 8(1).

Daskalogianni, A., & Simpson, A. P. (2000). Towards a definition of attitude: the relationship between the affective and cognitive in pre-university students. In Nakahara, T. and Koyama, M. (Eds.), Proc. 24th Conf. of the Int. Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education (Vol. 2, pp. 217-224). Hiroshima, Japan: PME.

Drake, C., Spillane, J. P., & Hufferd-Ackles, K. (2001). Storied identities: Teacher learning and subject-matter context. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 33(1), 1-23.

Eng, T. H., Li, V. L., & Julaihi, N. H. (2013). Lecturers’ perceptions, students’ problems and solutions for handling high-failure rate mathematics courses. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences90, 853-861.

Ernest, P. (1989a). The knowledge, beliefs, and attitudes of the mathematics teacher: A model. Journal of Education for Teaching, 15, 13-33.

Ernest, P. (1989b). The impact of beliefs on the teaching of mathematics. In P. Ernest (Ed.), Mathematics teaching: The state of the art (pp. 249-254). London: Falmer Press.

Ernest, P. (2000). Teaching and learning mathematics. In V.Koshy, P. Ernest, & R. Casey (Ed.), Mathematics for primary teachers. London, UK: Routledge.

Flegg, J., D. Mallet, and M. Lupton. (2012). Students’ perceptions of the relevance of mathematics in engineering. International Journal of Mathematical Education in Science and Technology. 43(6): 717–732.

Gallagher, A. M., & Kaufman, J. C. (2005). Gender differences in mathematics: Where we are and what we need to know. In A. M. Gallagher & J. C. Kaufman (Eds.), Gender differences in mathematics (pp. 316-332). New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.

Grootenboer, P. J. (2003). Facilitating affective change with preservice primary teachers. In L. Bragg, C. Campbell, G. Herbert, & J. Mousley (Eds.), MERINO: Mathematics education research: Innovations, networking, opportunity (Proceedings of the 26th Annual Conference of Mathematics Education Research Group of Australasia, Vol. 2, pp. 413–420). Geelong, Australia: MERGA.

Guner, N. (2013). Pre-servıce teachers` metaphors about mathematıcs. NWSA: Education Sciences, 8(4), 428-440.

Gupta, S., Harris, D. E., Carrier, N. M., & Caron, P. (2006). Predictors of student success in entry-level undergraduate mathematics courses. College Student Journal40(1), 97.

Harper, N. W., & Daane, C. J. (1998). Causes and reduction of math anxiety in preservice elementary teachers. Action in Teacher Education19(4), 29-38.

Harris, D., Black, L., Hernandez-Martinez, P., Pepin, B., Williams, J., & with the TransMaths Team. (2015). Mathematics and its value for engineering students: what are the implications for teaching?. International Journal of Mathematical Education in Science and Technology46(3), 321-336.

Hart, L. C. (2002). Pre-service teachers’ beliefs and practice after participating in an integrated content/methods course. School Science and Mathematics, 102(1), 4-15.

Hill, H. C., Blunk, M. L., Charalambous, C. Y., Lewis, J. M., Phelps, G. C., Sleep, L., & Ball, D. L. (2008). Mathematical knowledge for teaching and the mathematical quality of instruction: An exploratory study. Cognition and Instruction26(4), 430-511.

Hirst, K., Meacock, S., & Ralha, E. (2004). Student expectations of studying mathematics at university. In Proceedings of the 27th Annual Conference of the Mathematics Education Research Group of Australasia (MERGA27) (Vol. 1, pp. 295-302).

House, J.D. (2000). Academic background and self-beliefs as predictors of student grade performance in science, engineering and mathematics. International Journal of Instructional Media, 27(2) 207-220

Kahan, J. A., Cooper, D. A., & Bethea, K. A. (2003). The role of mathematics teachers' content knowledge in their teaching: A framework for research applied to a study of student teachers. Journal of Mathematics Teacher Education, 6(3), 223-252.

Kandemir, M. (2007). Attitudes and concept learning levels about basic mathematics of class student teachers. Journal of Education Faculty, 9(2), 13-32.

Kensington-Miller, B., Sneddon, J., & Stewart, S. (2014). Crossing new uncharted territory: shifts in academic identity as a result of modifying teaching practice in undergraduate mathematics. International Journal of Mathematical Education in Science and Technology, 45(6), 827-838.

Merriam, S. B. (1998). Qualitative research and case study applications in education. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass Publishers.

Midgley, C., Feldlaufer, H., & Eccles, J. S. (1989). Change in teacher efficacy and student self-and task-related beliefs in mathematics during the transition to junior high school. Journal of Educational Psychology, 81(2), 247.

Miles, MB. & Huberman, AM. (1994). Qualitative Data Analysis (2nd edition). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

National Commission on Mathematics and Science Teaching for the 21st Century (2000). Before it’s too late: A report to the nation from the national commission on mathematics and science teaching for the 21st century. Washington, DC.: Author.

Perry, B. (2007). Australian teacher’s views of effective mathematics teaching and learning. ZDM Mathematics Education, 39, 271-286.

Philippou, N. G., & Christou, C. (1998). The effects of a preparatory mathematics program in changing prospective teachers’ attitudes towards mathematics. Educational Studies in Mathematics, 35, 189-206.

Rayner, V., Pitsolantis, N., & Osana, H. (2009). Mathematics anxiety in preservice teachers: Its relationship to their conceptual and procedural knowledge of fractions. Mathematics Education Research Journal, 21(3), 60-85.

Schuck, S. (1997). Using a research simulation to challenge prospective teachers' beliefs about mathematics. Teaching and Teacher Education, 13,529-539.

Sultan, A., & Artzt, A. (2011). The mathematics that every secondary math teacher needs to know. Florence, KY: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group.

Suresh, R. (2002). Persistence and attrition in Engineering: Understanding the nature of students‟ experience with barrier courses. PhD. dissertation, University of New York.

Sutherland, R., & Pozzi, S. (1995). The changing mathematical background of undergraduate engineers. London: Engineering Council.

Thompson, A.G.: 1992, Teachers’ Beliefs and Conceptions: A Synthesis of the Research. In D.A. Grouws (Ed.), Handbook of Research on Mathematics Learning and Teaching. New York: Macmillan, 127-146.

Uusimaki, L., & Nason, R. (2004, July). Causes underlying pre-service teachers’ negative beliefs and anxieties about mathematics. In Proceedings of the 28th Conference of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education (Vol. 4, pp. 369-376).

Van de Walle, J., Karp, K. S., & Bay-Williams, J. M. (2010). Elementary and middle school mathematics methods: teaching developmentally (7th edition). New York: Allyn and Bacon.

Weber, K. (2004). Traditional instruction in advanced mathematics courses: A case study of one professor’s lectures and proofs in an introductory real analysis course. Journal of Mathematical Behavior, 23(2), 115–133.

Wilburne, J. M., & Long, M. (2010). Secondary pre-service teachers' content knowledge for state assessments: Implications for Mathematics Education Programs. Issues in the Undergraduate Mathematics Preparation of School Teachers, 1.

Yin, R. K. (2003). Case study research: Design and methods (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Yoon, C., Kensington-Miller, B., Sneddon, J., & Bartholomew, H. (2011). It's not the done thing: social norms governing students’ passive behavior in undergraduate mathematics lectures. International Journal of Mathematical Education in Science and Technology42(8), 1107-1122.

Zevenbergen, R. (2001). Changing contexts in tertiary mathematics: Implications for diversity and equity. In D. Holton (Ed.) The teaching and learning of mathematics at university level, An ICMI study. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishers.

Zevenbergen, R. (2005). Primary pre-service teachers’ understandings of volume: The impact of course and practicum experiences. Mathematics Education Research Journal, 17(1), 3-23.