Elementary Teacher Preparation in
Mathematics: Ohio

Delivering Well Prepared Teachers Policy


The state should ensure that new elementary teachers have sufficient knowledge of the mathematics content taught in elementary grades.

Does not meet goal
Suggested Citation:
National Council on Teacher Quality. (2011). Elementary Teacher Preparation in Mathematics: Ohio results. State Teacher Policy Database. [Data set].
Retrieved from: https://www.nctq.org/yearbook/state/OH-Elementary-Teacher-Preparation-in-Mathematics-6

Analysis of Ohio's policies

Ohio does not articulate requirements to ensure that early childhood teacher candidates have sufficient mathematics content knowledge.

The state does not specify any coursework requirements for early childhood teacher candidates regarding mathematics content. Ohio has also adopted NCATE's National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) standards for approving its early childhood programs, but these standards lack any substantial academic content, including mathematics.

Ohio requires that all new early childhood teachers pass a general test with limited subject-matter substance, 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.


Recommendations for Ohio

Require teacher preparation programs to provide mathematics content specifically geared to the needs of elementary teachers.
Ohio 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.
Ohio 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.

State response to our analysis

Ohio asserted that the above analysis only addresses requirements for early childhood education (PK-3) and does not address requirements for the state's middle childhood education (4-9) certificate, which includes elementary grades. 

Last word

The requirements for Ohio's middle childhood education (MCE) certificate are discussed in Goal 1-E. As stated in that goal's analysis, only candidates who are certified in the particular area of mathematics have to pass a single-subject math test. Those who are "middle school generalists" are only required to pass the general elementary content test, in which math subscores are not provided. Therefore, Ohio also does not ensure sufficient mathematics content knowledge for all teachers who earn the MCE certificate. 

Research rationale

For evidence that new teachers are not appropriately prepared to teach mathematics, see NCTQ, No Common Denominator: The Preparation of Elementary Teachers in Mathematics by America's Education Schools (2008) at:

For information on the mathematics content elementary teachers need to know, see National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, "Highly Qualified Teachers: A Position of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics," (July 2005). See also Conference Board of the Mathematical Sciences, The Mathematical Education of Teachers, Issues in Mathematics, Vol. 11, (American Mathematical Society in cooperation with the Mathematical Association of America, 2001), p. 8.

For evidence on the benefits of math content knowledge on student achievement, see Kukla-Acevedo "Do Teacher Characteristics Matter? New Results on the Effects of Teacher Preparation on Student Achievement." Economics of Education Review, 28 (2009): 49-57; H. Hill, B. Rowan and D. Ball "Effects of Teachers' Mathematical Knowledge for Teaching on Student Achievement," American Educational Research Journal (2005).

For information on where states set passing scores on elementary level content tests for teacher licensing across the U.S., see chart on p. 13 of NCTQ's "Recommendations for the Reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, Removing the Roadblocks: How Federal Policy Can Cultivate Effective Teachers?" (2011).