The state should ensure that new elementary teachers have sufficient knowledge of the mathematics content taught in elementary grades.
Connecticut does not articulate requirements to ensure that elementary teacher candidates have sufficient mathematics content knowledge.
Although the state does not have teaching standards that its approved teacher preparation programs must use to frame instruction in elementary mathematics content, Connecticut does require 39 semester hours of general coursework, which includes mathematics.
Connecticut requires that all new elementary teachers pass a general subject-matter test, the Praxis II. This commercial test does not provide a specific mathematics subscore, so one can likely fail the mathematics portion and still pass the test. Further, while the Praxis II does cover important elementary school-level content, it barely evaluates candidates' knowledge beyond an elementary school level, does not challenge their understanding of underlying concepts and does not require candidates to apply knowledge in nonroutine, multistep procedures.
Require teacher preparation programs to provide mathematics content specifically geared to the needs of elementary teachers.
Although Connecticut requires some knowledge of mathematics, the state should require teacher preparation programs to provide mathematics content specifically geared to the needs of elementary teachers. This includes specific coursework in foundations, algebra and geometry, with some statistics.
Require teacher candidates to pass a rigorous mathematics assessment.
Connecticut should assess mathematics content with a rigorous assessment tool, such as the test required in Massachusetts, that evaluates mathematics knowledge beyond an elementary school level and challenges candidates' understanding of underlying mathematics concepts. Such a test could also be used to allow candidates to test out of coursework requirements. Teacher candidates who lack minimum mathematics knowledge should not be eligible for licensure.
Connecticut recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis. The state added that new legislation will require all elementary teacher candidates to pass a rigorous mathematics exam prior to certification. A stakeholders group will convene in fall 2011 to choose the appropriate exam and set the passing score. Connecticut expects that the new mathematics exam will become effective on July 1, 2012.
The state also noted that the proposed certification regulations include a requirement that new bachelor-level early childhood and elementary teacher candidates complete an interdisciplinary major, which includes nine credits in mathematics. Connecticut expects that these courses will be taught by arts and sciences professors.
NCTQ looks forward to reviewing the state's progress in future editions of the Yearbook.