Faculty of Economics and Business Administration Publications Database

The impact of university teacher training on prospective teachers’ CK and PCK – a comparison between Austria and Germany

Fritsch, Sabine
Berger, Stefanie
Seifried, Jürgen
Bouley, Franziska
Schnick-Vollmer, Kathleen
Schmitz, Bernhard
Volume: 7
Number: 4
ISSN-Print: 1877-6345
Link External Source: Online Version
Year: 2015
Keywords: Teacher training; Business and economic education; Content knowledge; Pedagogical content knowledge; Comparative study


As teacher training plays a major role in the development of (prospective) teachers’ knowledge, differences between the professional knowledge of prospective teachers at Austrian and German universities were examined in the current study. The teacher training systems of business and economic education in both countries differ substantially regarding structure and content. The German system consists of two consecutive phases with different foci (university education with an emphasis on theories and domain-specific knowledge, followed by school-based practical training with the objective of acquiring practical experience). Thus, in Germany, opportunities to learn (OTL) mainly cover domain-specific knowledge with less focus on didactics and teaching experience. In contrast, Austrian universities offer an integrated approach that combines the two phases (i.e., theoretical input and practical teaching experiences are closely linked) at the university level.


A paper-and-pencil test was used to measure content knowledge (CK) and pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) in the domain of accounting of prospective teachers in Germany and Austria. The total sample consists of n = 1,401 prospective teachers from German and Austrian universities. Taking the structural differences in teacher education into account, differences in CK and PCK between German and Austrian prospective teachers were expected.

Results and conclusions

Accordingly, the results show that the Austrian sample outperformed the German one. In addition, for both the German and the Austrian sample, university-based OTL in accounting had a crucial impact on the CK score. Concerning PCK, however, the situation is different: none of the university-based OTL had an impact on Austrian prospective teachers’ PCK, and only small effects were found for the German sample. Possible reasons for the unexpected findings are discussed.