U.S. Middle-Grades Teachers Found Ill-Prepared in Math
Aspiring middle school teachers in the United States take fewer math courses and are less knowledgeable in the subject than their counterparts in South Korea, Taiwan, and other countries. That gap in teacher preparation, coupled with curricular differences, could help explain achievement disparities between American students and their peers in other industrialized nations. The teacher-candidates from the United States and Mexico also reported that their undergraduate programs covered less content in advanced math, analysis, and algebra than the other countries’. The American teacher-candidates were also less equipped for the practical aspects of teaching math to middle school students than their counterparts in all but Germany.
Moreover, teachers who pursue certification specific to middle school education, as opposed to elementary or secondary programs, are the least primed of all.
Schmidt, W. (2007). Mathematics teaching in the 21st century. East Lansing: Michigan State University.
Math and science learning linked
Another international study looks in part at the intersection between math achievement and science learning, which experts say suggests the broader importance of good math instruction.
American Institutes for Research. (2007). Lessons learned from U.S. international science performance. Washington, DC: Author.
Math teaching training needed
In its preliminary recommendations, the National Mathematics Avisory Panel highlighted the need for “systematically improving teacher-preparation programs, as well as professional-development strategies for teachers already in the field.”
National Mathematics Advisory Panel. (2007). Preliminary report. Washington, DC: Author.