Cross-national investigation of teachers’ pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) in the U.S. and South Korea: what proxy measures of teacher quality are related to PCK?

Soonhye Park, Aeran Choi, Wm Matthew Reynolds

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

Pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) is central to teachers’ professional knowledge impacting student learning and thus is considered a key attribute of teacher quality. Teacher quality is often indirectly examined by proxy measures such as degrees, certification, and teaching experience. To date, little is known how those proxy measures are related to teachers’ PCK levels. This study investigated which proxy measures of teacher quality best predict teachers’ PCK levels with 166 secondary science teachers from the U.S. and South Korea. Additionally, this study compared teachers’ PCK levels in both countries. A PCK survey consisting of 30 dichotomous and open-ended items was administered to secondary science teachers in a Midwest State in the U.S. and Seoul, South Korea. Eighty-five and eighty-one participants from the U.S. and South Korea, respectively, completed surveys. Statistical analyses indicated that biology teaching certification and teaching at the high school level were the most significant predictors of PCK total scores. No significant relationship between teachers’ gender or years of teaching experience and PCK total scores was found. Although Korean teachers exhibited higher PCK total scores than U.S. teachers, teachers from both countries similarly struggled to make connections between knowledge of students’ understanding and knowledge of instructional strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2630-2651
Number of pages22
JournalInternational Journal of Science Education
Volume42
Issue number15
DOIs
StatePublished - 2020

Keywords

  • Pedagogical content knowledge
  • international comparison
  • science teacher education
  • teacher quality

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