Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Major Professor

Vena M Long

Committee Members

Charles Collins, Jo Ann Cady, P. Mark Taylor


With rising accountability standards and the need for content specialists within education, the qualifications of mathematics teachers have become increasingly scrutinized. For over three decades, within the parameters of educational reform, the need for the professionalization of teaching has reoccurred (Carnegie Task Force, 1986). When examining the nature of teacher professionalism, no concise definition within the educational community exists (Noddings, 1992). The purpose of this study was to take characteristics defined by the medical and law fields and use them to develop a definition of professionalism within mathematics education. Once a clear set of characteristics was identified, the study then looked to reveal the nature of which those characteristics were instilled within mathematics teacher education programs at higher education institutions. Current mathematics teachers and mathematics teacher educators were surveyed and the set of characteristics rated as to their importance in defining professionalism with mathematics education. A second part to the survey asked mathematics teacher to rate the extent they felt prepared within those same characteristics. Mathematics teacher educators were asked to reflect upon their curriculum with respect to the same set of characteristics. The results were compared with similarities and differences among the two groups presented. The results from this study can be used by higher educational institutions in shaping current and future teachers’ set of professional characteristics. Current teachers can examine the results of this study with the intent to evaluate themselves as professionals.

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