Survey Suggests Hurdles for Math, Science Teaching
Mismatch seen in classroom practices, standards
A rich new set of survey data on math and science teachers highlights some big challenges the nation faces if it hopes to significantly increase student achievement in those disciplines. It also drives home, experts say, the huge need to support teachers as districts begin implementing the common-core math standards, and as an effort to develop common standards for science nears completion.
Just one-third of middle school math teachers have a degree in mathematics or math education, for instance, according to the national survey of nearly 7,800 educators, including elementary teachers as well as secondary math and science teachers, issued last month. Fewer than half of elementary teachers feel "very well prepared" to teach science. And just one in five K-3 educators teaches science every day.
Meanwhile, a lot of teachers don't feel well-equipped to plan instruction that meets the needs of students at varying levels of math and science understanding. Also, many don't place a high priority on asking students to explain and justify their method for solving a math problem, or to supply evidence in support of a scientific claim, approaches emphasized in the new math standards and the...
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