The need for relevant initial teacher education for primary mathematics: evidence from the primary teacher education project in South Africa

Report of the work conducted by the Assessment Working Group of PrimTEd to design a common assessment in mathematics for higher education institutions use with their with Bachelor of Education student intakes. The assessment instrument is an online test of 90 minutes, consisting of 50 items on different mathematics concepts pertaining to foundation and intermediate phase school mathematics for teaching. The authors, analysed the performance of the 2017 pilot testing with first year students from two universities, and the 2018 national assessment from seven higher education institutions. The results revelaed similar patterns of performance. As the test was set at the level of mathematics at which the students are expected to teach, it is concerning that the majority of students (71%) were not able to obtain more than 60%. This brings into question the assumptions made about the mathematics skills and competencies that entrants into the B.Ed programme bring with them into tertiary education.