Teacher education programs are doing better at preparing new elementary teachers to teach reading, but remain weak on preparing them to teach math, science and history.
Thirty-nine percent of prospective elementary teachers are learning evidence-based approaches to teaching reading, the National Council on Teacher Quality reports. That’s up from 29 percent in 2014.
While most programs are still not selective enough (with only 26 percent limiting selection to the top half of college-goers), there was some progress. More programs that are housed in institutions lacking strong admissions requirements have stepped up, setting their own relatively high admissions standards (at least a 3.0 GPA for admission)–up from 44 in 2014 to 71 today.
Half of these selective programs also are “diverse when compared to the institution as a whole or to the state’s teacher workforce.”
Unfortunately, in light of the recent PISA results, the news on mathematics preparation is gloomy. Just 13 percent of programs cover the essential math that other nations expect their elementary teachers to have mastered.
Content preparation is very weak. Many programs cover children’s literature, American history and writing, but only five percent expose future teachers to “the literature, history, geography, and science found in the elementary curriculum.”