Deepening Teachers' Content Knowledge: Process for Analyzing Instruments Used to Measure Teacher Content Knowledge

The MSP Knowledge Management and Dissemination project developed a system for conducting reviews of empirical research intended to ensure a transparent process with integrity and protections against bias in all phases. The process for analyzing instruments used to measure teacher content knowledge is described below.

Analyzing Instruments Used to Measure Teacher Content Knowledge

Knowledge Management and Dissemination staff analyzed the instruments or approaches used to measure teacher content knowledge in all empirical research studies identified in the literature. A protocol of 16 questions guided the analysis of each instrument or approach:

  1. What is the name of the instrument?
  2. What is the nature of the instrument (interview, paper and pencil test, concept map, card sort, etc)?
  3. What mathematics/science topics are addressed?
  4. What type of knowledge does the instrument measure (disciplinary content knowledge, pedagogical content knowledge, or ways of knowing mathematics/science)?
  5. For what grades of teachers is the instrument appropriate?
  6. What types of questions does the instrument use: open-ended, multiple choice, performance task, other?
  7. How much time is required for teachers to complete the instrument?
  8. How are responses scored or coded?
  9. What kinds of scores/information does the instrument yield (e.g., percent correct, "proficient," quantitative scale scores such as "connectedness," qualitative description of knowledge)?
  10. How much time is required to score the instrument?
  11. What kind of expertise is required to score the instrument and interpret results?
  12. What is the reliability of the instrument for this use?
  13. What is the validity of the instrument for this use?
  14. What are the particular advantages or drawbacks of this instrument
  15. What other studies are cited as having used this instrument?
  16. Is the instrument available, and if so, from where?

Most studies provided little information about the instruments used to measure teacher content knowledge. After the original study was analyzed, staff sought additional information about each instrument, using both ERIC and general web searches. Staff also emailed the entry for each instrument to the primary author of the original study to review for completeness and accuracy. In a few cases, staff were not able to find contact information for the authors.