Education Research Data Sharing Initiative
This study is maintained and distributed by The Education Research Data Sharing Initiative: an AERA-ICPSR Partnership, a project funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF).
Mathematics Teaching in the 21st Century (ICPSR 34430)
Alternate Title: MT21
Principal Investigator(s): Schmidt, William, Michigan State University
MT21 is a cross-national study of the preparation of middle school mathematics teachers. Countries participating included Chinese Taipei (Taiwan), South Korea (Korea), Bulgaria, Germany, Mexico, and the United States. Data were collected from teachers in their first and last year of preparation by sampling institutions in each country. Future teachers were asked about their backgrounds, course-taking and program activities, knowledge relevant to their teaching (mathematical and pedagogical), and beliefs and perspectives on content and pedagogy.
The 1995 Third International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) data revealed that countries with higher achievement have teachers who teach substantially different content than that of their less accomplished counterparts (see Schmidt et al., 1996; Schmidt et al., 2001). The 1996 Report of the National Commission on Teaching and America's Future argued that what teachers know and do in the classroom matters for pupil learning. It also argued that teacher education might be a viable policy tool to improve the quality of education (National Commission on Teaching and America's Future, 1996). United States reform efforts are consistent with this line of thought. They have introduced standards to measure teacher quality as it relates to student achievement. This, in turn, led to accountability concerns regarding teacher preparation programs (INTASC, 1995; Murray, 2000; Leithwood, Edge and Jantzi, 1999; NCATE, 2000).
The MT21 Project was designed to answer the following question: how shall we prepare our future teachers to teach a more rigorous curriculum to all students? Several assumptions were made going into this work: the concepts and models defining teacher preparation are not fixed across the world. Recognizing and understanding this diversity to develop a cross-national study of teacher preparation poses a complex and challenging problem. It is hoped that the resulting international data would not only serve to provide policy insights but would also bring about change by making visible contrasts with other countries in terms of teacher preparation in the United States.
These data are freely available.
Schmidt, William. Mathematics Teaching in the 21st Century. ICPSR34430-v1. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2013-02-25. http://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR34430.v1
Persistent URL: http://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR34430.v1
This study was funded by:
- National Science Foundation (REC 0231886)
Scope of Study
Smallest Geographic Unit: country
Date of Collection:
Unit of Observation: individual, educational institution, country
Universe: Students attending teacher-preparation institutions in Bulgaria, Germany, Mexico, South Korea, Taiwan, and the United States.
Data Types: survey data
Data Collection Notes:
People responsible for data collection:
- Sofia, Bulgaria: Kiril Bankov
- Berlin, Germany: Sigrid Blömeke
- Mexico City, Mexico: Tenoch Cedillo and Marcela Santillan
- Seoul, Korea: Shin-Il Han
- Taipei, Taiwan: Feng-Jui Hsieh
- Martin Carnoy, Stanford University
- Leland Cogan, Michigan State University
- Richard Houang, Michigan State University
- Lynn Paine, Michigan State University
- John Schwille, Michigan State University
- Maria Teresa Tatto, Michigan State University
The MT21 Study also collected Institution Survey Data and Faculty Survey Data. Only the Future Teacher Survey Data is available in this download.
Data from open-ended responses from the Future Teacher Survey are not included in this download.
More information about Mathematics Teaching in the 21st Century (MT21) can be found at the following two links:
A copy of a report summarizing the design and preliminary results from the study can be found at http://usteds.msu.edu/MT21Report.pdf.
Study Purpose: The purpose of this study is to examine how teacher preparation is done differently across several high-achieving countries. The 1995 Third International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) has argued that curriculum is important to learning, and that the United States curriculum in middle school is not adequately meeting international standards. Despite these findings, questions of the role of the teachers' subject matter knowledge in delivering that curriculum are mostly unanswered. Which learning experiences matter most in preparing teachers to teach challenging mathematics? What should the balance be across the three areas of mathematics, mathematics education, and general pedagogy? These are the most important questions to be addressed especially given the limitation of time associated with typical university preparation. It is only by moving outside the United States education culture that we are likely to find major alternative models that can challenge our own assumptions and provide a basis for curriculum policy change in teacher education.
The MT21 Project sought to use international comparative studies' potential to make clearer important aspects of teacher preparation. The decision was made to conduct the study in a small number of countries that had shown substantial differences in international comparisons of students' mathematics achievement. After discussions with researchers from a number of countries, the final research was conducted in Bulgaria, Germany, Mexico, South Korea, Taiwan, and the United States.
There were three major routes for secondary teacher preparation across these countries. The first route (Bulgaria, Taiwan, Korea) prepares secondary teachers and that includes the preparation of middle school teachers. The second route focuses specifically on preparing middle school teachers (Mexico). The third route is preparing middle school teachers as part of an elementary teacher preparation program. Germany uses both the first and second routes, while the United States uses all three routes. Students were sampled from all three routes for study participation.
MT21 sought to measure what individuals learned in their teacher preparation programs by surveying students' learning opportunities as they are structured and provided by educational institutions and faculties of mathematics, mathematics pedagogy, and general pedagogy. Three surveys were developed for this purpose: an Institution Survey, a Faculty Survey, and a Future Teacher Survey. MT21 gathered information from two different cohorts of future teachers - those at the beginning of their program and those at the end of their program in order to estimate what individuals gain in their teacher preparation program.
Sampling occurred at the institution level in each country, in order to survey all eligible future teachers within each sampled institution. The result was a convenience sample of future teachers in each country. In each country, MT21 studied a purposeful, non-random sample of teacher-preparation institutions so as to obtain as representative a sample as possible.
In Bulgaria, MT21 sampled the three institutions that prepared the largest number of future lower secondary teachers. In Mexico, MT21 chose five institutions to be regionally representative. In Taiwan, five institutions that represented a variety of teacher preparation institutions were sampled, including the largest and most prestigious university and others whose prestige varied but also produced larger numbers of future teachers. In Korea, MT21 sampled four institutions with differing levels of reputation, similar to Taiwan's sampling. The German sample included four regions in which all universities and practical teaching institutions were included (an important characteristic of the German model of education). The United States sample was least representative due to the large number of teacher preparation institutions, but 12 institutions were chosen that cut across major categories considered important in understanding differences among institutions.
Time Method: Cross-sectional
Weight: MT21 weighted the results in order to make the non-random samples as representative as possible in each of the six countries. This was done by estimating the number of teachers prepared at each of the sampled institutions. MT21 then obtained an estimate of the total number of lower secondary teachers prepared in each country. Using those estimates, a set of weights was generated to provide estimates from the sampled institutions that were more consistent with the output of each country's institutions. Since these measures were not available at the outset of the study or used to draw the original samples, the weights are a post-hoc attempt to make the results more representative.
Mode of Data Collection: self-enumerated questionnaire
Presence of Common Scales:
There were three surveys created for the MT21 Project.
- Institution Survey: This collected program information including entry requirements, student recruitment, academic course requirements and practical school experience requirements, typical course topic electives, self-perceived relative program strengths, recent and anticipated reforms, and program length.
- Faculty Surveys: There were four types of faculty surveys created for each topic area - mathematics, mathematics education, general education, and school based practical experiences. The survey asked questions about perspectives on mathematics and the teaching and learning of mathematics, as well as questions characterizing the learning environment and activities future teachers might encounter in courses taught by the faculty member.
- Future Teacher Surveys: This survey had four main parts - demographics and academic background, academic program learning opportunities, beliefs and perspectives on schooling, teaching and learning, and knowledge related to the teaching of middle school mathematics. All future teachers completed one of two forms. The demographics/background and academic opportunities portions were identical for both forms. The other two areas shared a few common items, but most of the questions were unique to a form while capturing the same ideas. Each country also had it's own set of country-specific questions which were included in the survey.
- Created variable labels and/or value labels.
- Standardized missing values.
- Created online analysis version with question text.
- Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes.
Original ICPSR Release: 2013-02-25
- 2013-03-04 The order of the bookmarks in the questionnaire document was corrected.
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