Response to the Request of the National Mathematics Advisory Panel for Public Comment from the American Association

of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE) September 6, 2007 Presented on behalf of AACTE by William F. Tate IV Edward Mallinckrodt Distinguished University Professor in Arts & Sciences and Chair, Department of Education Washington University in St. Louis AACTE, representing 800 schools, colleges, and departments of education across the nation, is pleased to have this opportunity to testify before the National Mathematics Advisory Panel. We recognize the nation’s critical need to increase the quantity and quality of scientific personnel to compete in the global economy and to bolster the technical skills of our workforce to enhance creativity and innovation. Obviously, the teaching and learning of mathematics is critical to addressing that need. Our comments are focused on elementary and middle school (K-8) mathematics education, according to the Panel’s charge, and, as requested, we cite our sources of research evidence. In cases where definitive findings do not exist, we reference the best judgment of the profession. Our remarks address item (e) in the Executive Order creating the panel—“the training, selection, placement, and professional development of teachers of mathematics in order to enhance students learning mathematics.” AACTE offers eight policy recommendations to the Panel that we believe would significantly improve the quality of mathematics teaching and teacher preparation programs. Briefly, the recommendations are 1. Support syntheses and wide dissemination of the best research available 2. Support research on critical mathematics teacher/teaching issues 3. Encourage consensus-building efforts to develop high-level student mathematics standards 4. Support the development of student data systems with links to teacher preparation programs 5. Support teacher preparation reform at both state and federal levels 6. Eliminate out-of-field teaching 7. Encourage investments in mathematics teacher recruitment and retention efforts 8. Correct the inequitable distribution of high-quality teachers

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These recommendations are embedded in the following discussion of several key issue areas. 1. Teaching knowledge, skills, practices, and tools

The Panel is unquestionably aware of the paucity of rigorous research on what is considered the core question of education: What is it about teaching that influences students’ learning?— a deficit acknowledged in the recent update to the Handbook of Research on Mathematics Teaching and Learning.1 It is critical that such knowledge be continually sought and made known to collegiate education faculty members across the country. Their often-underestimated impact on tens of thousands of new teacher hires, as well as on the professional development of employed teachers in schools and districts nationwide each year, is unparalleled. Yet the value of comprehensive reviews and syntheses of the most rigorous research on what mathematics teachers should know and how they should teach it, seems not to be apparent. Examples of such findings include the following:

The National Research Council in 2001 urged that, beginning in preschool, educators should help students extend their rudimentary comprehension of numbers, and that in later years the curriculum should link calculation to everyday situations to help students make such connections. Further, educators should teach important concepts in depth rather than covering many topics superficially. Carpenter et al. determined that teachers should know how to help students connect new knowledge to what they already know, create a structure for the new knowledge, engage students in inquiry and problem-solving, and take responsibility for validating their ideas and procedures. Thus mathematics teachers should have a coherent vision of (a) the structure of the ideas and practices they are teaching, (b) students’ conceptions, misconceptions, and problem-solving strategies, (c) students’ typical learning trajectories, (d) the tasks, tools, and scaffolding to support student sense-making, and (e) the class norms and activity structures that support learning. Teachers thus need flexible knowledge they can adapt to their students and the demands of situations as they arise in classes.2 The positive effect on student learning of elementary mathematics teachers’ mathematical knowledge for teaching—an effect with as big an impact on mathematics learning as student poverty or race—is surely well known to National Mathematics Advisory Panel, f or the concept mathematical knowledge for teaching was conceived by Task Group Chair

The enabling condition of “opportunity to learn,” and teaching that promotes conceptual development, as well as teaching that facilitates efficiency in executing skills, are the teaching features that the latest review of research links consistently with student achievement. See: James Hiebert and Douglas A. Grouws, “The effects of classroom mathematics teaching on students’ learning,” in Second handbook of research on mathematics teaching and learning, Frank K. Lester, Jr. (Ed.), A project of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing, 2007), 371-404.

National Research Council. Adding it up: Helping children learn mathematics. J. Kilpatrick, J. Swafford, and B. Findell (Eds.). Mathematics Learning Study Committee, Center for Education, Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education. Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 2001.

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Deborah Ball and her colleagues.3 They have made significant contributions to describing and developing methods for assessing Shulman’s “pedagogical content knowledge”4 that mathematics teachers need to know (i.e., teachers’ skills, such as pinpointing sources of errors, illustrating key concepts on the fly as needed in the classroom, and explaining multiple routes to the same end). Their national study of 700 elementary teachers in lowincome schools found that the students of those with the higher scores on a “mathematical knowledge for teaching” test had the highest math learning gains.

Regarding effective instructional programs, one particularly exceptional, experimental study was conducted by Carpenter et al. (2003)5 on Cognitively Guided Instruction (CGI). Title I students in Milwaukee whose teachers used CGI showed stunning gains over those whose teachers did not. The results were subsequently replicated in schools in several other states. A second instructional program, Active Mathematics Teaching,6 derived from direct instruction, has also been evaluated through a true experimental design and its positive results replicated in a variety of settings. The research reviews and synthesis efforts, such as those mentioned above, are typically inaccessible to teachers and teacher educators. Publications whose sponsors do not have large promotional budgets may receive their brief “media moment” in the sun and then fade away with the next day’s news. But more likely, they simply appear once in a subscription-based research journal that can easily be missed by busy practitioners. Ironically, the most significant research findings of all are synthesized in an expensive

See: Heather C. Hill, Brian Rowan, and Deborah Loewenberg Ball, “Effects of teachers’ mathematical knowledge for teaching on student achievement,” American Educational Research Journal, 42(2) (2005), 371-406; Deborah Loewenberg Ball & Hyman Bass, “Interweaving content and pedagogy in teaching and learning to teach: Knowing and using mathematics. In J. Boaler (Ed.), “Multiple perspectives on the teaching and learning of mathematics” (pp. 83-104). Westport, CT: Ablex, 2000; Deborah Loewenberg Ball, Heather C. Hill, & Hyman Bass, “Knowing mathematics for teaching: Who knows mathematics well enough to teach third grade, and how can we decode?,” American Educator, Fall 2005; Heather C. Hill & Deborah Loewenberg Ball, “Learning mathematics for teaching: Results from California’s mathematics professional development institutes, Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 35(5) (2004), 330351.

Lee. S. Shulman, “Merging content knowledge and pedagogy: An interview with Lee Shulman.” Journal of Staff Development, 13(1) (Winter 1992), 14-17.

Carpenter, T., Blanton, M.L., Cobb, P., Franke, M.L., Kaput, J., & McClain, K. (2004). Scaling up innovative practices in mathematics and science. Research Report. Madison, WI: National Center for Improving Student Learning and Achievement in Mathematics and Science.


Good, T. L., Grouws, D.A., and Ebmeier, H. Active mathematics teaching. New York: Longman, 1983.

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volume7 which— even if a copy is available in a library —is not easily accessible to faculty and teachers. The Education Department’s What Works Clearinghouse (WWC)—an important effort to determine, using highly rigorous research standards, which instructional programs are effective in increasing student achievement, and to make that information available free and accessible to all via the web—has unfortunately, reported inconclusive, and thus not useful findings. For example, WWC’s reviews of the Connected Mathematics Project—a problem-centered curriculum designed for all students in grades 6-8— and of Transition Mathematics—a one-year curriculum that aims to increase 7th through 12th grade students' skills in applied arithmetic, pre-algebra, and pre-geometry—found both programs to have “mixed effects” on mathematics achievement. UCSMP Algebra, a one-year course, appropriate for grades 7-10, designed to increase students' skills in algebra, was found by WWC to have “potentially positive” effects on mathematics achievement. RECOMMENDATION #1: The National Mathematics Advisory Panel should request major government support for syntheses and wide dissemination of the best research available on the teaching and learning of K-8 mathematics. This should be an on-going service provided without charge to the public. 2. Teacher preparation High-quality preparation is, of course, essential to enabling candidates’ development of the knowledge, skills, and professional dispositions they need to teach. Research shows that wellprepared teachers are more likely to remain in the teaching profession8 and to produce higher levels of achievement among students.9 Preparation programs also help solve key policy issues, including the shortage of teachers in particular content areas; the inequitable distribution of teachers on the basis of race/ethnicity and socioeconomic status; and the paucity of minority representation within the educator workforce. Despite their recognized importance, these programs are frequently criticized—often in terms of their length, admission and graduation standards (either too high or two low), or their level of practicality (overly theoretical or too methods-based). Thus several key questions arise, listed below as A, B, and C.
For example, the cost of the recent (2007) Second handbook of research on mathematics teaching and learning, Frank K. Lester, Jr. (Ed.), just mentioned, is $400.

Richard M. Ingersoll, University of Pennsylvania, Analysis for NCTAF of the2000-01 Teacher Follow up Survey. See National Commission for Teaching and America’s Future, No Dream Denied: A Pledge to America’s Children, Summary Report (Washington, D.C.: NCTAF, 2003), 84-85.

Suzanne M. Wilson, Robert E. Floden, and Joan Ferrini-Mundy, Teacher Preparation Research: Current Knowledge, Gaps, and Recommendations: A Research Report Prepared for the U.S. Department of Education (Seattle: Center for the Study of Teaching and Policy, 2001).

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A. What constitutes a high-quality preparation program? In 2001, the NRC described the
features that mathematics, science, and technology teacher education programs should exhibit.10 These include the following:

Be collaborative endeavors developed and conducted by mathematicians11, education faculty, and practicing K-12 teachers with assistance from members of professional organizations and mathematics-rich businesses and industries…. Help prospective teacher to know well, understand deeply, and use effectively and creatively the fundamental content and concepts of the disciplines that they will teach… Unify, coordinate, and connect content courses in mathematics with methods courses and field experiences…. Teach content in ways that allow students to appreciate the applications of mathematics…. Provide learning experiences in which mathematics is related to and integrated with students’ interests, community concerns, and societal issues…. Integrate education theory with actual teaching practice, and knowledge from mathematics teaching experience with research on how people learn mathematics Provide opportunities for prospective teachers to learn about and practice teaching in a variety of school contexts and with diverse groups of children Encourage reflective inquiry into teaching through individual and collaborative study, discussion, assessment, analysis, [and] classroom-based research and practice; and Welcome students into the professional community of educators and promote a professional vision of teaching. (pp. 69-71)

• • • • • • •

See: Judith T. Sowder, “The mathematical education and development of teachers,” in Second handbook of research on mathematics teaching and learning, Frank K. Lester, Jr. (ed.), A project of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing, 2007), p. 199200.

“Science and technology” were included in the original document but omitted in this chapter of the Second Handbook.

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However, incorporation of each and every feature, to constitute the ideal preparation program, is rarely possible, and the level of mastery of mathematics content and related pedagogical skills by teacher graduates of preparation programs is frequently challenged.12 Further, research on the effect of mathematics teachers’ preparation, as measured by coursework, on their students’ achievement, is ambiguous. Monk found that secondary teachers’ postsecondary coursework predicted eventual student achievement, but that mathematics teachers who took more than three mathematics courses fared worse than those who took fewer; student gains were more clearly tied to teachers’ education courses.13 Steiner makes an important point as well—that while we know a lot about desired program characteristics, we can’t know for sure the effects of specific programs. This is because studies don’t control for the differences in who enters them and because hard data on the effects of teacher practices on their students’ achievement are not yet available. If education schools simply reflect the ability of their entering students, he notes, then the programs don’t have much to show for their effort.14

B. What do we know about the quality of existing preparation programs? U.S. teacher

preparation is highly variable in structure, and probably in content. Some programs begin with college freshmen, others take midlife career changers; some last 1 year, some 2, some 4, some 5; some programs for elementary teachers include only a mathematics course or two, and others include several. Although some course titles may appear in every program (e.g., methods of teaching elementary school mathematics), the written descriptions of those courses vary widely; and the enacted curriculum also varies. Programs’ content and structure might appropriately change, depending on who was admitted, and on characteristics of graduates.15 Little is known about the content or methods courses offered by teacher preparation programs in the United States. Experts acknowledge that no national, summary information exists as to the content of the mathematics and mathematics education


See, for example: Liping Ma, Knowing and teaching elementary mathematics. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1999; National Research Council, Committee on Science and Mathematics Teacher Preparation, Educating teachers of science, mathematics, and technology: New practices for the new millennium. Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 2001; Susan Goya, “The critical need for skilled math teachers,” Phi Delta Kappan (87) 5 (January 2006), pp. 370-371. David H. Monk, “Subject area preparation of secondary mathematics and science teachers and student achievement,” Economics of Education Review (13), 125-145.

Remarks of David Steiner, Dean of the School of Education at SUNY/Hunter College, at a National Council on Teacher Quality panel discussion on July 27, 2007 in Washington, DC.

Report of working group 7 – Teacher preparation, Proceedings of the NCTM Research Catalyst Conference: September 11–13, 2003, p. 173; Telephone conversation with Dr. Kathryn Chval, Assistant Professor, University of Missouri/Columbia, January 4, 2007;

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courses being provided to teacher candidates,16 perhaps due partially to higher education’s history of autonomy and diversity.17

C. What can be done to ensure that programs attain and maintain the necessary level of

quality? A plethora of differing standards, frameworks, benchmarks, and course-content guidelines as to what mathematics students should learn and teachers should teach, have evolved, which may help explain the variation in teacher education programs. These include state student learning standards and curriculum requirements/frameworks; NAEP’s mathematics standards; the American Diploma Project and AP courses; the international standards of TIMSS and PISA; the Conference Board of the Mathematical Sciences’ “MET,” teaching standards of state education boards; preparation program approval requirements of state agencies; the frameworks of testing companies (e.g., Praxis exams), the Professional Standards for Teaching Mathematics and Focal Points of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, the preparation program unit standards of the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education, and the content standards for accomplished teachers of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. Typically, soon after their release, standards are subjected to a long-term updating process.18 Since 2002, 38 states have developed or revised their mathematics curriculum standards for students;19 and state boards and agencies regularly reconsider course requirements for preparation programs and the content and passing scores of their teacher licensing tests.20 Mathematics learning expectations vary across the states along several dimensions, including level of specificity, language used to convey learning goals, and grade placement of specific learning expectations. Taken as a national collection, they

Report of working group 7 – Teacher preparation, Proceedings of the NCTM Research Catalyst Conference: September 11–13, 2003; See also: Sandra Stotsky, “How state boards of education can upgrade math teaching in the elementary school,”, March 19, 2007.

Comments made at the June 4-5, 2007 Michigan State University policy forum, “Preparing Mathematics Teachers to Make a Difference: Why Teacher Education Matters.”

For example, James Lewis, University of Nebraska at Lincoln, at Michigan State University’s June 4-5 2007 Policy Forum on “Preparing Mathematics Teachers to Make a Difference: Why Teacher Education Matters,” recommended revising the MET standards to include further study of fractions, integers, rationals, and real numbers, by elementary teachers, as well as the study of statistics, functions and an introduction to algebra. He also suggested possible additional courses for middle grade teachers: Number Theory and Cryptology, Discrete Mathematics, Using Mathematics to Understand our World, and Concepts of Calculus. Other presenters made further suggestions.

Barbara Reys and Glenda Lappan, “Consensus or confusion? The intended mathematics curriculum in state-level standards,” Phi Delta Kappan (88) 9, 676-680.


Massachusetts is an example: its Board of Education has recently voted on additional course requirements and a more demanding mathematics test for elementary and special education teachers. [Penny: check its status.]

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highlight the lack of national consensus as to common learning expectations in mathematics at particular grade levels—a situation that can lead to confusion.21 RECOMMENDATION #2: The National Mathematics Advisory Panel should urge support for research on critical mathematics teacher/teaching issues. This research should include, at a minimum, a description of the current status of mathematics preparation on the part of K-8 teachers; the essential content for high-quality mathematics teacher preparation; the optimal length of coursework and clinical experiences and combinations thereof; and research on the ideal structure, nature, and sequences of courses. Regarding ensuring the necessary level of program quality, we make the following recommendations: RECOMMENDATION #3: The National Mathematics Advisory Panel should encourage consensus-building efforts to develop high-level student mathematics standards. Several efforts are now proposed or under way to develop student mathematics (and science) standards—either through collaborations of states or national voluntary standards efforts— that are pegged at high levels. These include the 29-state America Diploma Project under Achieve, Inc.,22 as well as the national efforts outlined in several pieces of congressional legislation23 and in the National Science Board’s draft national action plan to improve the nation’s STEM education system.24 Efforts such as these, to update existing standards and clearly articulate, according to international benchmarks, what students at various levels should know and be able to do regarding P-12 mathematics, would provide critical information to upgrade teacher preparation programs. RECOMMENDATION #4: The National Mathematics Advisory Panel should support the development of student data systems with links to teacher preparation programs. Better information is needed on the actual performance of teachers in classrooms, particularly on their ability to increase student learning. Although several states are developing and piloting data systems that follow the achievement of K-12 students, links are needed to data on the characteristics of their teachers’ preparation programs. If such data were available, preparation programs could be modified accordingly, increasing their effectiveness to the benefit of the institutions, the candidates, the schools and, ultimately the

Reys and Lappan, “Consensus or confusion,” Phi Delta Kappan. See:


For example, the Dodd-Ehlers bill, also known as the SPEAK Act (Standards to Provide Educational Attainment for all Kids), S 224 and HR 325, and Senator Kennedy’s SUCCESS Act (States Using Collaboration and Coordination to Enhance Standards for Students), S 164.

National Science Board, A National Action Plan for Addressing the Critical Needs of the U.S. Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Education System.—Draft for Public Comment. NSB/HER-079, Revised August 9, 2007.

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achievement of students. We urge the Panel to recommend the appropriation of funds sufficient for all states to develop and implement longitudinal data systems with the capacity to track the performance of individual students from year to year, link those students with their teachers, determine the impact of teachers over several years, link those teachers to their preparation programs, and ultimately identify the program characteristics associated with the greatest levels of student achievement. RECOMMENDATION #5: The National Mathematics Advisory Panel should urge support for teacher preparation reform at both state and federal levels. At the state level, factors beyond the control of preparation institutions affect their ability to create their own programs as they might wish. These include decisions by state boards, agencies, and legislatures as to student standards, student curricula, teaching standards, specialist designations and requirements, teacher licensing exams, and their passing scores as well as appropriations for preparation program improvement, induction, and professional development.25 A key factor in reform is inclusion of teacher preparation within the state’s alignment ladder, as proposed by the Business-Higher Education Forum (BHEF). Program admission requirements, specialized content courses, and graduation standards for teacher candidates should be aligned with the state’s P-12 content standards. Both content and teaching methods courses should be redesigned to help future teachers make insightful connections between the mathematics they are learning and the mathematics they will teach. We agree with BHEF that each state must provide colleges and universities with incentives for evaluating and modifying teacher education programs. 26 At the federal level, we urge the Panel to support the following research-based proposals:

Mandated extensive, supervised clinical experience. Considerable variation exists in the extent and rigor of the teacher candidates’ clinical experience required by states. About three quarters of the states require some clinical experience, which may range from 5 to 20 weeks.27 Research suggests that sustained, high-quality clinical experience is related to teacher retention. Candidates who have had student teaching are twice as likely to stay past the first year of teaching as those who have not. Prospective teachers should exhibit consistent success through a substantial preservice clinical experience involving a variety of challenging situations and supervised by both university- and school-based faculty. AACTE recommends at least 15 weeks at 30 hours per week, or a total of 450 hours for clinical experience.

See: Business-Higher Education Forum, A commitment to America’s future: Responding to the crisis in mathematics & science education, Washington, DC, January 2005.
25 26

Ibid, pg. 20.

Melissa McCabe, “State of the states,’ in Quality counts: A decade of standards-based education. 2006. Education Week, Vol. 25, No. 17, January 5, 2006. pp. 72-89.

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Required assessment of teaching performance. A major omission in the nation’s system of determining the quality of entry-level teachers is an assessment of their ability to teach. Innumerable, and frequently inadequate, tests of content knowledge, professional knowledge, and in some cases subject-specific pedagogy, are available and used by states in licensing teachers. However, the ability of teachers to actually teach is, with few exceptions, not part of the licensing process. A growing body of research indicates that performance assessments that include evidence from actual teaching practice can better evaluate instructional practice and can serve as powerful professional learning experiences. Reports of the National Research Council28 and the National Academy of Education29 call for such assessments. A major investment in school/university partnerships. This is the major legislative vehicle for teacher preparation reform, as it brings together the mathematics program within arts and sciences, one or more K-12 districts, and the teacher education program to support fledgling mathematics teachers with effective strategies, understandings, and techniques. Appropriation levels for such partnerships have been minimal at both state and federal levels. Out-of-field teaching


The problem of out-of-field teaching—in which teachers are assigned to teach subjects that do not match their training or education—is a crucial issue for the teaching and learning of mathematics. Highly qualified teachers may actually become “unqualified” if assigned to teach subjects for which they are not prepared. Ingersoll describes this as “a chronic and widespread problem,” as his data show that about one third of all mathematics classes in grades 7-12 are taught by teachers who have neither a major nor a minor in mathematics or a related discipline.30 Data show that virtually all U.S. teachers have completed a bachelor’s degree, and over 90% hold regular teaching certificates. Yet 65% of middle school mathematics teachers did not have an undergraduate or graduate major in mathematics, according to 1999-2000 SASS.
National Research Council. 2001 Testing teacher candidates: The role of licensure tests in improving teacher quality. Committee on Assessment and Teacher Quality, Mitchell, K.J., Robinson, D.Z., Plake, B.S., and Knowles, K.T., editors. Board on Testing and Assessment, Center for Education, Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education, Washington, DC: National Academy Press, p. 172.

Linda Darling-Hammond and Joan Baratz-Snowden (Eds.), A good teacher in every classroom: Preparing the highly qualified teachers our children deserve (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2005, pp. 6263.

Richard M. Ingersoll, “Four myths about America’s teacher quality problem,” Chapter 1 in Developing the teacher workforce—103rd Yearbook of the National Society for the Study of Education, (Eds. M. Smylie and D. Miretzky. University of Chicago Press, 2004.

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This is not necessarily due to inadequate preparation; it could be due to the lack of fit between teachers’ fields of preparation and their teaching assignments. Assuming that the decades-old practice of out-of-field assignment continues due to its efficiency and cost-savings aspects, then its elimination will not be easily accomplished simply by legislative fiat.31 Interestingly, only 21 states have a ban or cap on the number of out-of-field teachers.32 Nations with highscoring students, such as Korea and Japan and Singapore, tend to have very little out-of-field teaching.33 RECOMMENDATION #6: The National Mathematics Advisory Panel should call for the elimination of out-of-field teaching. With 18% of middle school mathematics teachers assigned “out of field,” it is important to take a stand to discourage this practice. The Panel should recommend that all states phase out the practice of out-of-field teaching by setting a disappearing cap on the number of out-of-field placements permitted by each district each year until ultimately, the cap becomes a ban. 4. Mathematics teacher supply and distribution issues

The Mathematics Teacher Shortage. The first recommendation of the National Academies’ Rising Above the Gathering Storm is to increase America’s talent pool by vastly improving K-12 mathematics and science education. In 1999-2000, the latest year for which figures were available, of the total number of public K-12 teachers, 160,000 taught mathematics.34 About two thirds of the nation’s K-12 teachers are expected to retire or leave the profession over the coming decade, and by 2015, the shortage of highly qualified mathematics and science teachers is expected to reach 283,000. 35 Recruitment and retention of mathematics teachers. We know that one third of teachers (in general) leave within 3 years and half within 5 years. Mathematics (as well as science) teachers are significantly more likely to move from, or to eave their


Ingersoll, Ibid.

Melissa McCabe, “State of the states,” in Quality counts: A decade of standards-based education. 2006. Education Week, Vol. 25, No. 17, January 5, 2006, p.89.

Richard M. Ingersoll, “Comparative Study of Teacher Preparation and Qualifications in Six Nations,” CPRE Policy Briefs, RB-47, February 2007.

The National Academies, Rising above the gathering storm—Energizing and employing America for a brighter economic future. Report of the Committee on Prospering in the Global Economy of the 21st Century: An Agenda for American Science and Technology. Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy. (Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2006.)

National Center for Education Statistics, Projection of education statistics to 2014 (Boston, MA: National Center for Education Statistics, 2005).

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teaching jobs because of job dissatisfaction than are other teachers (40% of mathematics and science teachers compared with 29% of all teachers); and nationally, mathematics teachers have the highest annual teacher turnover rate (16.4%) among various fields.36

Lack of diversity of mathematics teachers. A substantial imbalance exists in the racial and ethnic makeup of the nation’s teaching workforce compared to students in the classroom. Although the student population is becoming more and more diverse, the face of the teaching profession is not keeping pace. Fully 42% of all students in our public schools are members of minority groups. In urban areas, minority students constitute clear enrollment majorities, with Hispanic students now the largest minority group in the nation. Yet teaching continues to be dominated by European Americans.

RECOMMENDATION #7. The National Mathematics Advisory Panel should encourage investments in mathematics teaching recruitment and retention efforts. Given the shortage, the high rates of turnover and out-of-field teaching, and the lopsided diversity among mathematics teachers, it is necessary to launch a concerted recruitment/retention effort. Research shows that strong induction programs with trained mentors make a positive difference in the retention of novice teachers and in improving teaching practice within the school.37 Further, growing interest exists in enabling school districts to offer STEM teachers compensation that is more closely aligned with that available in other economic sectors.38 Nothing less than a federal “Marshall Plan” is needed to greatly enhance the recruitment and retention of excellent mathematics teachers, particularly for high-need schools. Substantial funds should be authorized for a variety of promising purposes: • • • • • •

Joint collegiate/school urban teaching academies Noyce Scholarships, which provide funds that higher education institutions may use to encourage STEM majors to become K-12 mathematics teachers Service scholarships and forgivable loans for the training of outstanding candidates who agree to teach in high-need schools Matching grants to state and districts for high-quality induction programs and support structures for new teachers in high-need schools Teaching assignments for new teachers that support their induction into the field Significant bonuses, in the range of $10,000 to $15,000 a year, for National Boardcertified teachers who agree to teach in poor urban or rural schools

Richard M. Ingersoll, “Is there a shortage among mathematics and science teachers?,” Science Educator, 12,1 (Spring 2003). Thomas M. Smith and Richard M. Ingersoll, “What are the effects of induction and mentoring on beginning teacher turnover?” American Educational Research Journal 41, no. 2 (2004).

National Science Board, A National Action Plan for Addressing the Critical Needs of the U.S. Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Education System.—Draft for Public Comment. NSB/HER-079, Revised August 9, 2007.

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The ultimate development of a national database and analytic agenda for monitoring and ameliorating teacher supply and demand across the country such that all highneed schools have high-quality teachers

Inequities in the distribution of mathematics teachers. Poor students and students of color are most likely to be taught by inexperienced and underqualified teachers. Recent data indicate that children in the highest-poverty schools are assigned to novice teachers almost twice as often as children in low-poverty schools. Similarly, students in high-minority schools are assigned to novice teachers at twice the rate as students in schools without many minority students. A recent study by the American Institutes of Research that directly addresses middle school mathematics students found that only 70% of economically disadvantaged eighth-grade students had teachers with a major or minor in mathematics, compared to 83% of eighth-grade students who were not so classified. Economically disadvantaged students were also less likely to have a certified mathematics teacher (89%) than those who were not (94%). Further, students in high-ability mathematics classes were more likely (86%) to have teachers with a major or minor in mathematics/mathematics education than those in mixed- or low-ability mathematics classes (66%). Students in low-ability classes were also less likely to have a teacher with more than 5 years’ experience in mathematics instruction (58%) than students in high-ability classes (74%).39

RECOMMENDATION #8: Correct the inequitable distribution of high-quality teachers. The Panel’s report should clearly articulate this educational travesty and insist on enforcement of existing reporting requirements, on the prohibition of district maldistribution practices, and on the appropriation of funds to carry out the recruitment/retention recommendations noted above. On behalf of teacher preparation programs across the nation, we thank the Panel members for your attention and for the good work you are doing to help improve mathematics teaching and learning. —————————————————————— Attachment: Preparing STEM Teachers: The Key to Global Competitiveness. AACTE. June 2007

Elizabeth Greenberg, David Rhodes, Xiaolan Ye, and Fran Stancavage, “Prepared to teach: Teacher preparation and student achievement in eighth-grade mathematics.” Paper presented at AERA Annual Meeting in San Diego, April 12-16, 2004 based on work performed by American Institutes for Research under a cooperative agreement with IES, p. 19.

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