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Pre-Service Education Program

Overview of Program Conceptual Framework

The Mission of the Mathematics and Science Education Department (MSED) at Illinois Institute of Technology is "To promote excellence in the teaching and learning of mathematics and science through the use of empirical research and the wisdom of practice. "Consequently, during a time in which the quality of mathematics and science education is a significant concern, IIT has developed a comprehensive disciplinary-based teacher education program in secondary level mathematics and science, within its Department of Mathematics and Science Education, focusing on its unique subject matter and technology strengths. The program draws primarily from constructivist epistemology as a means by which knowledge is developed and fully recognizes the individual perspectives from which learners approach school and life situations.  Additionally, the knowledge base utilizes contemporary research on teaching and learning and is philosophically and substantively aligned with Illinois Content Standards and the professional subject matter organizations. Graduates of the program will:

  • be leaders in instructional innovation in mathematics and science
  • actively conduct classroom-based research to assess the effectiveness of instructional innovation
  • integrate current and emerging subject matter into the development of mathematics and science curriculum that enable secondary students to function as productive citizens in contemporary society
  • effectively address the needs of diverse students (including special needs) in diverse contexts
  • promote the productive integration of emerging technology into science and mathematics teaching practice

Overall Program Framework and Knowledge Base

The overall organizational framework for our program borrows heavily from Shulman’s (1986) Knowledge Growth in Teaching with the ultimate focus on the Teacher as Transformer of Subject Matter. At an operational level, the program focuses on the development, revision, and elaboration of six primary domains of knowledge that both theory and research have indicated are essential for effective instruction. It is this combination of domains of knowledge that distinguishes the expert teacher from others possessing one or more of the following domains of knowledge.

1.   Subject matter knowledge: Knowledge of foundational ideas and conceptual schemes, data and procedures within a specific subject matter area.

2.   Pedagogical knowledge: Knowledge of generic principles and strategies of classroom instruction (e.g., instructional models and integration of technology) and management.

3.   Knowledge of schools: Knowledge of educational contexts, i.e., the place of the classroom in the school, school in the community and other social contexts.

4.   Knowledge of learners: Knowledge of all aspects of intellectual, social and emotional development of all students regardless of cultural, social, ethnic background.

5.   Curricular knowledge: Knowledge of development and implementation of programs and materials.

6.   Pedagogical Content knowledge: The way of representing and formulating subject matter knowledge that makes it comprehensible to others (i.e., knowledge of how to transform and represent subject matter so that it is comprehensible to students or others).

It is this last domain of knowledge that focuses primarily on the teacher as a transformer of subject matter knowledge. Clearly, the teacher must possess knowledge in each of the specified knowledge domains. However, the ultimate test of the effective teacher is the ability to transform what he or she knows into a form that is readily accessible to all learners. This ability is the essence of Shulman's final domain of knowledge - Pedagogical Content Knowledge (PCK). It is PCK that separates the expert mathematics or science teacher from the subject matter specialist and the expert pedagogue. Although six domains of knowledge have been explicated as central to the program, it is essential to realize that these domains are highly interactive and this inter-relatedness typifies all program activities and experiences.

Within the Knowledge Growth in Teaching model, the IIT program is committed to providing students with experiences that help them develop a full range of knowledge and skills in the areas of subject matter, pedagogy, pedagogical content knowledge, schools, learners and curriculum within a framework of moral and ethnical societal norms, including a commitment to equity and diversity. From a constructivist perspective, individuals are continually structuring knowledge and revising their structures of knowledge in response to differing contexts and new knowledge/perceptions.  Consequently, it is important to note that the program does not view any of the domains of knowledge as completed outcomes upon graduation. Rather, the domains provide a basis for continued life-long professional development. 

Specific Program Outcomes

Program graduates will demonstrate their knowledge of the stated domains of knowledge by:

  • the development of integrated and in-depth subject matter knowledge in topical areas directly relevant to teaching content specialty (Subject Matter Knowledge)
  • the successful development of instructional materials/plans consistent with research on teaching/learning and supports emotional development (Pedagogical Knowledge)
  • successfully working within the school and community in a manner that fosters community and state instructional goals (Knowledge of Schools)
  • development and implementation of instructional materials and plans that are consistent with current cognitive and social theories on student learning and personal development for regular as well as special needs students (Knowledge of Learners)
  • appropriate selection of instructional/curriculum materials relative to local, state, and national curriculum goals and reforms, and exhibited ability to analyze and revise materials so that they are consistent with appropriate curriculum goals (Curricular Knowledge)
  • successful development and implementation of instruction that represents current subject matter to students in a form that promotes in-depth understanding and ability to apply knowledge to new and unique situations (Pedagogical Content Knowledge)

Pedagogical Content Knowledge

Preliminary Interview with Dr. Judith Lederman (

Completion of the required Illinois State Board of Education Test

  • Basic Skills
  • Concept Test (Mathematics, Biology, Chemistry, or Physics): Taken before student teaching
  • Assessment of Professional Teaching: Taken during or at the completion of student teaching

Completion of Pre-Service Portfolio

Illinois Learning Standards

     Science Learning Standards

 Mathematics Learning Standards
  Federal and State Regulations