The project area focusing on mathematics is primarily centered around the investigation of knowledge and teaching of specialized content. We can assume that both skills are highly interrelated, in the sense in that subject-specific content knowledge is a prerequisite for the ability to teach it.
A model of structuring subject-specific teaching skills, which was confirmed in the initial analysis, argued that within the overarching skill of teaching subject-specific content, the sub-skills of explanation and diagnosis of issues are unique. This is illustrated by the following diagram:
In the classroom, a cyclical process takes place: material is explained, the roots of problems are diagnosed by means of reflection, and then the explanation can be supplemented or adapted to meet the individual student’s need.
In the existing studies amongst teacher candidates of mathematics, the division into explanatory and diagnostic skills was proved to be useful, and the two competences were also shown to stand independent of the teacher’s specialized content knowledge.
In addition to tried and tested test items assessing skills of knowledge and teaching of specialized content, several new assessment tasks were ongoing in development and currently are in the trial phase. In addition to the above questions, data were gathered on various biographical variables as well as motivational and personality-related traits were gathered in order to be analyzed as potential predictors for test performance and drop-out rates.
Ultimately, a continued monitoring of students should be established, for which cohort comparisons and illustration of changes (i.e. introduction of a Bachelor of Education) are possible. Preliminary investigations conducted during the transition from high school to university yield the opportunity to identify potential issues that undergraduates might face and devise appropriate solutions. A reliable mapping of skill development is thus an essential basic competence for teachers.