State Policy Yearbook: Elementary math adds up in some states

See all posts

In case you haven't heard, NCTQ recently released its State Teacher Policy Yearbook. Today we're highlighting the move by several states to incorporate subject-specific testing for new teachers.

One of the most significant growth areas in state teacher policy over the last few years has been in elementary teacher preparation. There has been an increase in the number of states requiring prospective elementary teachers to pass a certification test that ensures candidates have a solid foundation in each subject they will teach.

In the last three years, a surprising number of states have transitioned to content testing requirements for elementary teacher certification, an area identified as a "Critical Attention" area in our 2010 report. NCTQ found that 19 states now require content tests with separate passing scores for each subject area instead of a general knowledge exam.

If we dig a little deeper and look specifically at elementary teacher preparation in mathematics, we find encouraging news there as well. Two years ago, only one state, Massachusetts, required a rigorous test to assess mathematics knowledge. Today, 23 states have implemented a test that provides a specific mathematics subscore. 

Unfortunately, too many states have yet to implement this much-needed change. Why? Judging by the comments submitted by one state in response to our 2009 Yearbook, separate-subject testing is "impractical" and too difficult to implement - 

In an interesting turn of events, this same state implemented the changes recommended by NCTQ and received one of the top scores in our 2013 update.  Impractical, indeed.