The state should ensure that new elementary teachers have sufficient knowledge of the mathematics content taught in elementary grades.
Minnesota relies on its standards for teacher preparation programs and the state's new certification test as the basis for articulating its requirements for the mathematics content knowledge of elementary teacher candidates.
The state does not specify any coursework requirements regarding mathematics content. However, Minnesota has articulated teaching standards that its approved teacher preparation programs must use to frame instruction in elementary mathematics content. The state's standards appropriately address content in mathematics foundations, but although they mention such areas as geometry, the standards lack the specificity needed to ensure that teacher preparation programs deliver this mathematics content of appropriate breadth and depth to elementary teacher candidates.
Minnesota's new certification test commendably includes a separate subtest in which mathematics accounts for 75 percent of the exam questions. Teacher candidates must pass each subtest to earn a passing score on the overall assessment. The test's standards appropriately address content in mathematics foundations but are not specifically geared to meet the needs of elementary teachers.
Require teacher preparation programs to provide mathematics content specifically geared to the needs of elementary teachers.
Although Minnesota requires some knowledge in key areas 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.
Ensure that the state's assessment of mathematics is rigorous and specifically focuses on the knowledge and skills that elementary teachers need.
Although Minnesota's new teacher licensure commendably requires the equivalent of a separate passing score for mathematics, the state should ensure that its mathematics assessment evaluates candidates' knowledge beyond an elementary school level, challenges their understanding of underlying concepts and requires candidates to apply knowledge in nonroutine, multistep procedures. Teacher candidates who lack minimum mathematics knowledge should not be eligible for licensure.
Minnesota recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis.