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CBMS Releases New Report on the Mathematical Education of Teachers

01/07/2013 10:02 AM | Anonymous

What mathematics do teachers need to know?

How can mathematicians aid teachers in learning this mathematics, in collaboration with others responsible for teacher education?

Current research and experience are synthesized to answer these questions in the new report The Mathematical Education of Teachers II (MET II) from the Conference Board of the Mathematical Sciences. This report updates The Mathematical Education of Teachers (published in 2001) and extends its scope from preparation to professional development in the context of the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics.

The audience for the report includes all who teach mathematics to teachers, mathematicians, statisticians, and mathematics educators; and all who are responsible for the mathematical education of teachers, department chairs, educational administrators; and policy-makers at the national, state, school-district, and collegiate levels.

The report’s central themes are:

  • There is intellectual substance in school mathematics - at every grade level.
  • Proficiency with school mathematics is necessary but not sufficient mathematical knowledge for a teacher.
  • The mathematical knowledge needed for teaching differs from that of other professions.
  • Mathematical knowledge for teaching can and should grow throughout a teacher's career.

Over the past decade, the Math Science Partnerships (supported by the National Science Foundation and the United States Department of Education) and the NSF's Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program have connected mathematicians at institutions of higher education with K–12 school systems, fostering new partnerships and extending existing collaborations. For practicing K–12 teachers, content-based professional development offered by Math Science Partnerships has changed their attitudes about mathematics, and increased their mathematical interest and abilities. Moreover, it has increased the achievement of their students.

In several states, Math Science Partnerships have provided strong mathematics preparation for elementary mathematics specialists: teachers who may hold the title elementary mathematics coach, elementary mathematics instructional leader, or lead teacher. A 3-year randomized study found that such specialists’ coaching of teachers had a significant positive effect on student achievement. Large-scale studies that examine connections between student achievement in earlier and later grades suggest that improved mathematics instruction in preschool and elementary grades has a large payoff in later achievement, not only for mathematics in later grades (including high school), but for reading.

The MET II report gives an overview of such developments and gives recommendations for teachers’ preparation and professional development. It devotes separate chapters to mathematics for teachers of elementary, middle, and high school grades. The associated web resources give sources of further information about mathematics in the Common Core and programs for teachers.

Each of the MET II writers is a mathematician, statistician, or mathematics education researcher. They include lead and other writers for the Common Core State Standards and principal investigators for Math Science Partnerships as well as past presidents and chairs of the American Statistical Association, Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators, Association of State Supervisors of Mathematics, Conference Board of the Mathematical Sciences, and National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.

The report may be downloaded free at the Conference Board of the Mathematical Sciences web site: www.cbmsweb.org/MET2. Printed copies may be ordered from the American Mathematical Society www.ams.org/bookstore-getitem/item=CBMATH-17.

The Conference Board of the Mathematical Sciences (CBMS) is an umbrella organization consisting of sixteen professional societies all of which have as one of their primary objectives the increase or diffusion of knowledge in one or more of the mathematical sciences. Its purpose is to promote understanding and cooperation among these national organizations so that they work together and support each other in their efforts to promote research, improve education, and expand the uses of mathematics.

For further information, contact CBMS director Ronald Rosier: rosier@georgetown.edu, 410-730-1426; 202-293-1170.

The ATOMIC Mission is to ensure that every Connecticut student receives world-class education in mathematics by providing vision, leadership and support to the K-16 mathematics community and by providing every teacher of mathematics the opportunity to grow professionally.

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