Delivering Well Prepared Teachers Policy
The state should ensure that new elementary teachers have sufficient knowledge of the mathematics content taught in elementary grades.
Nevada has not articulated requirements to ensure that elementary teacher candidates have sufficient mathematics content knowledge.
The state neither specifies any coursework requirements regarding mathematics content nor outlines teaching standards that its approved teacher preparation programs must use to frame instruction in elementary mathematics content.
Nevada does require 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.
Nevada Administrative Code 391.095 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.
Nevada should explicitly articulate its expectations for the knowledge and skills it expects elementary mathematics teachers to possess and 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.
Nevada 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.
Nevada recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis.