The conceptualisation and measurement of pedagogical content knowledge and content knowledge in the COACTIV study and their impact on student learning

  • Stefan Krauss
  • Werner Blum
Keywords: learning gains.


An ongoing question is the extent to which teachers' professional knowledge has an impact
on their teaching and, in particular, on their students' achievement. The COACTIV1 study
surveyed and tested the mathematics teachers of the classes sampled for PISA 2003/04 in
Germany. The study’s key components were newly developed tests of teachers’ pedagogical
content knowledge and content knowledge. This article gives a report of the
conceptualisation and operationalisation of both domains of knowledge and describes the
construction of the COACTIV tests. Findings from the tests show that there are differences
with respect to both knowledge domains regarding teachers’ school types, but that
pedagogical content knowledge and content knowledge astoundingly both do not depend on
teaching experience. Furthermore we show that the two domains of knowledge correlate
positively with constructivist teachers’ subjective beliefs, on the one hand, and with some
crucial aspects of their instruction, on the other hand. Finally, we show that pedagogical
content knowledge – but not pure content knowledge per se – significantly contributes to
students’ learning gains.

Research Articles