Standard P.2. Opportunities to Learn Mathematics

Standard P.2. Opportunities to Learn Mathematics

Developing candidates’ knowledge of mathematics concepts and practices relevant to teaching must be a priority in an effective teacher preparation program, and developing such knowledge is a career-long endeavor. As addressed in the preface, we use the term mathematics to encompass mathematics and statistics because school mathematics teachers are responsible for instruction in both content areas of mathematics and statistics. In instances in which the distinction between mathematics and statistics is important, statistics is identified separately. Within a mathematics teacher preparation program, a variety of individuals provide opportunities for candidates to learn mathematics content. Regardless of their departmental affiliations or academic backgrounds, whether they are employed by a university or a school district, each of these individuals must be considered part of the community of mathematics teacher educators. The responsibility for ensuring appropriate opportunities for candidates to learn mathematics is the joint responsibility of all such mathematics teacher educators.

The NCTM/CAEP Standards (NCTM & CAEP, 2012a, 2012b) describe specific content requirements for secondary mathematics candidates, and The Mathematical Education of Teachers II (MET II) (CBMS, 2012) and Statistical Education of Teachers (SET) (Franklin et al., 2015) provide specific guidance on the mathematics courses required for teaching at the elementary, middle, and high school levels; these requirements and guidelines are summarized in Table 3.2. We take these recommendations as the minima for effective mathematics teacher preparation. More detailed discussion of the mathematics-content expectations is provided in Chapters 4 through 7 of this document.

Table 3.2. Minimum Mathematics Content Preparation for Teacher Candidates

Mathematical Education of Teachers II (2012)

Statistical Education of Teachers (2015)

Pre-K–Grade 5

Twelve semester-hours of mathematics and statistics courses focused on a careful study of mathematics associated with the CCSS-M (K–5 and related aspects of 6–8 domains) (NGA & CCSSO, 2010) from a teacher’s perspective.

A minimum of six weeks of instruction included in the coursework.

Grades 6–8

Mathematics and statistics courses designed for future middle level teachers, including those with a focus on number and operations (6 semester-hours); geometry and measurement (3 semester-hours); algebra and number theory (3 semester-hours); statistics and probability (3 semester-hours); and a further 9 semester-hours of other mathematics and statistics courses selected from available offerings, such as introductory statistics, calculus, number theory, discrete mathematics, history of mathematics, and mathematical modeling.

Two courses in statistics (to be incorporated with courses from MET II)

High School

The equivalent of an undergraduate major in mathematics (including statistics) that includes three courses with a primary focus on high school mathematics from an advanced viewpoint.

Three courses in statistics that include a data-analytic and simulation-based approach with a focus on statistical models and inference (to be incorporated in the undergraduate major)