Hilby, A.C., Stripling, C.T. & Stephens, C.A. (2014). Exploring the Disconnect Between Mathematics Ability and Mathematics Efficacy Among Preservice Agricultural Education Teachers. Journal of Agricultural Education, 55(5), 111-125. doi: 10.5032/jae.2014.05111
STEM disciplines will continue to impact school-based agricultural education programs; thus, in order to produce secondary students proficient in science and mathematics, developing preservice agricultural education teachers who are competent in mathematics and teaching mathematics is essential. This study utilized data collected through a focus group of 10 preservice agricultural education teachers at the University of Tennessee in order to explore the disconnect between mathematics ability and mathematics efficacy of preservice agricultural education teachers. Five themes emerged, which help explain the disconnect between mathematics ability and mathematics efficacy: (a) review of mathematics, (b) misconceptions, (c) prior success, (d) use of guest lecturers/students, and (e) the importance of pedagogical knowledge. Based on the results of this study, we recommend the agricultural teacher education program at the University of Tennessee provide instruction on cross-referenced mathematics standards, methods of teaching contextualized mathematics, and the types of knowledge required for teaching contextualized mathematics. These efforts should better prepare preservice teachers for teaching contextualized mathematics and aid them in developing an accurate understanding of the mathematics found in the school-based curricula. Additionally, future research is warranted to determine the most effective means of providing instruction in the aforementioned areas.