• Joanne Jacobs

Don’t know much about teaching math

Are elementary teachers well prepared to teach math?


Many elementary teachers aren’t confident about their math skills, and  transmit their anxiety to their students, writes Madeline Will in Education Week.

Teacher prep programs don’t spend much time on elementary math, she writes. However, “that’s starting to change,” according to a National Council on Teacher Quality review. Undergraduate programs “now require an average of 19 percent more time for elementary math coursework than they did in 2014.”

About a fifth of undergraduate programs earned an ‘F’ grade in NCTQ’s review for providing less than 60 percent of the recommended mathematics coursework. And graduate programs fared even worse: 85 percent of those programs earned an ‘F’ and just 2 percent earned an ‘A’ or an ‘A+.’

It’s hard to teach math, even elementary math, without understanding the concepts, says NCTQ’s Heather Peske. “We often fall into a trap thinking that everyone who has graduated from high school has the knowledge they need to teach elementary math. And that’s not true.”

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