Pre-service teachers'numeracy views and capabilities: a comparison of students with STEM and non-STEM specialisms

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Strong numeracy skills are crucial in order for teachers to successfully integrate science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) in their teaching. In this study, we explored pre-service teachers’ views of and capabilities in numeracy. Students in a Master of Teaching program at a prestigious Australian university who were enrolled in a unit about numeracy teaching and learning completed questionnaires before and after completing the unit about their views of and capabilities in numeracy. Here, we focus on the pre-unit questionnaire data from 2017 and 2018, drawing comparisons between the responses of secondary pre-service teachers with STEM (n = 18) and non-STEM (n = 25) subject area specialisms. We analysed two calculation questions (including the linked questions about the participants’ confidence in their responses) and three questions about participants’ views of numeracy and mathematics, to see if there were differences in the response patterns of the two groups. While the differences between the STEM and non-STEM groups were generally not statistically significant, there was a consistent pattern of the STEM students being more knowledgeable about numeracy and confident in their numeracy capabilities. These findings point to the importance of numeracy units in preparing all pre-service teachers to incorporate both numeracy and STEM in their teaching.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIntegrated Education for the Real World
Subtitle of host publication5th International STEM in Education Conference: Post-Conference Proceedings
EditorsMaria Barrett, Rachel Bilsborough, Les Dawes, Senka Henderson, Donna King, Michelle Mukherjee, David Nutchey, Karen Whelan, Patricia Hosking
Place of PublicationBrisbane Qld Australia
PublisherQueensland University of Technology
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 2018
EventInternational Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics in Education Conference 2018 - Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia
Duration: 21 Nov 201823 Nov 2018
Conference number: 5th


ConferenceInternational Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics in Education Conference 2018
Internet address


  • numeracy
  • pre-service teachers
  • STEM vs. non-STEM specialisms

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