Teacher Preparation

Aspiring Primary Teachers May Be Tested in Math

By Sean Cavanagh — May 15, 2009 1 min read

Elementary school teachers lay the foundation for students’ knowledge in many subjects, including mathematics—an area in which they may have little background.

To address that concern, Massachusetts is preparing to require all elementary educators to pass a math-specific test for state licensure, as opposed to simply mandating that they notch a general passing score across all subjects.

Commissioner of Education Mitchell D. Chester said he expects to bring the proposal before the state board of education this week. He believes Massachusetts would become the first state to approve a math-specific test for elementary licensure, rather than an all-subjects score as is typical in most states.

Until now, aspiring teachers “have been able to do poorly on the math, but they’re able to meet the licensure requirement,” Mr. Chester said in an interview. “That’s been a concern.” The new mandate, he added, would be a “pretty substantial standard.”

The proposal grew out of guidelines for elementary teachers’ math preparation that the board approved in 2007. Mr. Chester said he would recommend a three-year grace period for teacher-candidates who struggle to pass the math test. The requirement would apply to teachers in grades 1-6, and special education teachers of children with moderate disabilities in pre-K-8, a spokesman for the education department said.

Massachusetts’ proposal is consistent with other effective teacher-preparation policies in the state, including strong math-course requirements at teacher colleges, said Julie Greenberg, a senior policy director at the Washington-based National Council on Teacher Quality, which advocates improved teacher preparation. While she said it’s unclear whether other states would adopt similar teacher-licensure policies, given the pressure they face to find and retain teachers, she commended Massachusetts for setting a high standard.

“The inclination of most states is to lower the standards,” she said, “rather than raise them.”

A version of this article appeared in the May 20, 2009 edition of Education Week as Aspiring Primary Teachers May Be Tested in Math

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
Making Digital Literacy a Priority: An Administrator’s Perspective
Join us as we delve into the efforts of our panelists and their initiatives to make digital skills a “must have” for their district. We’ll discuss with district leadership how they have kept digital literacy
Content provided by Learning.com
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
How Schools Can Implement Safe In-Person Learning
In order for in-person schooling to resume, it will be necessary to instill a sense of confidence that it is safe to return. BD is hosting a virtual panel discussing the benefits of asymptomatic screening
Content provided by BD
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
How Districts Are Centering Relationships and Systemic SEL for Back to School 21-22
As educators and leaders consider how SEL fits into their reopening and back-to-school plans, it must go beyond an SEL curriculum. SEL is part of who we are as educators and students, as well as
Content provided by Panorama Education

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Teacher Preparation Opinion Far Too Many Educators Aren’t Prepared to Teach Black and Brown Students
Teacher-prep programs can help address that inadequacy, writes Sharif El-Mekki.
5 min read
A group of multicolored people stand together looking in both directions
Ada DaSilva/DigitalVision Vectors<br/>
Teacher Preparation Teachers Can Take on Anti-Racist Teaching. But Not Alone
Teachers want to do better by their students of color, but many don’t know how. Madeline Will examines the gap between intention and action.
3 min read
BRIC ARCHIVE
Illustration by Jamiel Law
Teacher Preparation You Have Anti-Racist Curriculum Resources. Now What Do You Do?
Teachers need spaces to explore how power dynamics have shaped the subjects they teach, explains Sarah Schwartz.
4 min read
BRIC ARCHIVE
Illustration by Jamiel Law
Teacher Preparation We All Live Racialized Lives: The 'Identity Work' Teachers Need to Do
Understanding the Black experience also means seeing white privilege, writes education professor LaGarrett King.
3 min read
BRIC ARCHIVE
Illustration by Jamiel Law