The state should ensure that new elementary teachers have sufficient knowledge of the mathematics content taught in elementary grades.
Maine does not articulate requirements to ensure that elementary teacher candidates have sufficient knowledge of mathematics content.
The state outlines two pathways elementary teacher candidates can use to attain endorsement. However, only one pathway requires any mathematics coursework, and that requirement is only six semester hours in liberal arts mathematics. Furthermore, the state stipulates neither the requisite content of these classes nor that they must meet the needs of elementary teachers.
Maine requires that all new elementary teachers pass a general subject-matter test, the Praxis II. This commercial test lacks a specific mathematics subscore, so one can likely fail the mathematics portion and still pass the test. Further, while this test 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.
Rule 05-071, chapter 115, part II www.ets.org/praxis "No Common Denominator: The Preparation of Elementary Teachers in Mathematics by America's Education Schools," NCTQ, June 2008 http://www.nctq.org/p/publications/docs/nctq_ttmath_fullreport.pdf.
Require teacher preparation programs to provide mathematics content specifically geared to the needs of elementary teachers.
Maine 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.
Maine 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.
Maine recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis.