No Common Denominator: The Preparation of Elementary Teachers in Mathematics by America's Education Schools

Julie Greenberg and Kate Walsh
National Council on Teacher Quality
June 2008

The National Council on Teacher Quality evaluated the syllabi and course requirements of elementary math teacher preparation programs across the country and found such programs to be woefully inadequate and to have wildly different ideas about how to produce effective elementary math teachers. The usual scapegoat for the poor math prowess of some elementary students--the comparatively low quantitative ability of their teachers (as evidenced by those teachers' low math SAT scores)--turns out to be just part of the problem. NCTQ found only ten of the seventy-seven elementary math education programs that it examined in forty-nine states to have adequate content and methodology course requirements and only one program (at the University of Georgia) earned truly high marks from the reviewers. Without any standardization of what elementary math teachers need to know, these programs are scattered in both content and methods. Many programs never get around to requiring future elementary teachers to study the content of elementary-school math (though other kinds of math may be on tap). And some have no math-methods courses at all. There's plenty more in this comprehensive report, which you can find here.

More By Author