The purpose of this website is to provide resources to instructors of elementary mathematics content and methods courses that will help them better prepare elementary teachers to meet the mathematical challenges of the classroom.
NCTQ's No Common Denominator: The Preparation of Elementary Teachers in Mathematics by America's Education Schools reports on the poor mathematics preparation provided to most elementary teachers and its implications. The report contains ratings of the most commonly used elementary mathematics content textbooks and discusses the essential topics to be addressed in nine semester-hours of mathematics coursework that is complemented by a three semester-hour mathematics methods course.
The syllabi we have posted here are those used in courses taught by exemplary instructors. One set comes from Louisiana State University (LSU), whose coursework came to our attention in the course of our study and is discussed in our report. The instructor who provided them, Scott Baldridge, is also the co-author with Tom Parker of the textbook that was most highly rated in No Common Denominator. Dr. Baldridge and Dr. Parker have contributed their lecture notes for the first of the two courses, the course on numbers and operations, and we've "spiffed" them up graphically and posted them.
You'll notice when you review the syllabi that Dr. Baldridge's coursework is organized to prepare a teacher to teach in the Singapore Math Method grades 1-6 curriculum, but it has great strength independent of that connection.
We've also posted syllabi from two courses taught by Sybilla Beckmann at the University of Georgia, the most highly rated preparation program in the national sample evaluated in No Common Denominator. Those wanting to utilize activities from Sybilla Beckmann's wonderful activities manual in a course supported by the Parker, Baldridge text can thank Steffen Lempp at the University of Wisconsin-Madison for contributing a guide to linking the two.
Do you have syllabi, assignments, lecture notes or other materials you'd like to share with other instructors? Let us know...
We would like to post syllabi for coursework that is supported by another textbook that was highly rated in our study: Billstein, Libeskind, Lott's Mathematics for Elementary Teachers: A Conceptual Approach.
We would also like to post syllabi for "hybrid" coursework that combines content and methods instruction (possibly team-taught) and is supported by both a strong content textbook and one of the methods textbooks that we suggested in No Common Denominator "address the entire instructional cycle."
Please contact Julie Greenberg, Senior Policy Analyst at NCTQ, if you'd like to submit syllabi or any other materials for consideration.
You might also find NCTQ's Tackling the STEM crisis: Five steps your state can take to improve the quality and quantity of its K-12 math and science teachers of interest.
A slightly OT item of interest: Those interested -- as NCTQ is -- in how to broaden teachers' access to the Singapore math curriculum might find this article of interest: Beyond Singapore's Mathematics Textbooks: Focused and Flexible Supports for Teaching and Learning.
||Your comments on any issues related to the preparation of elementary teachers in mathematics are welcome.