Council Aims To Set Standards For Math Teachers

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The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, which recently unveiled standards for school curricula and evaluation, has formed a panel to set standards for what math teachers should know and be able to do.

The two-year effort is aimed at helping implement the earlier document by ensuring that teachers are qualified to follow its recommendations, according to Shirley M. Frye, the council's president.

At the same time, she said, the new panel's report is also expected to contribute to the deliberations of the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards, which is developing guidelines for the first national teacher-certification program.

"When the national board begins to focus on content-specific skills, we'll be ready with our recommendations," Ms. Frye said.

She added that, unlike the National Science Teachers Association, the nctm has no plans to issue its own certification to teachers who4meet its standards.

"If we would issue certification, and the national board did as well, we would have teachers confused," she said. "Our notion is to feed into what they are doing."

The 22-member commission on professional standards for teaching mathematics will be chaired by Glenda Lappin, professor of mathematics at Michigan State University. It was appointed this month at the nctm's annual meeting.

The group is charged with developing standards in three areas:

Teaching. The study will focus on what teachers at all levels are expected to know and do to teach the mathematics described in the nctm's curriculum standards.

Professional development. The report will outline the group's expectations for well-prepared teachers entering the profession and throughout their careers.

Evaluation. The group will focus on the goals, processes, and methods for evaluating teacher performance, appropriate evaluation techniques, and interpretation of evaluation data.

A "common thread" running throughout the standards, according to Ms. Frye, will be the "enabling conditions"--such as facilities and administrative support--that will ensure that the goals are attained.

The panel is expected to produce a draft document in the fall of 1990 that will be distributed to teachers and teacher educators for their comments. The final report is scheduled to be released in the spring of 1991.

Following the release of the report, the recommendations will be combined with those of a similar group--appointed by the Mathematical Association of America--charged with developing standards for college-level teaching. The combined document, Ms. Frye said, will represent "a single voice from the mathematics-education community" on standards for teachers from kindergarten through graduate school.--rr

Vol. 08, Issue 31

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