The future mathematical success of our nation’s children is largely dependent on the teachers of mathematics they encounter from prekindergarten to Grade 12 (Pre-K–12). According to Tatto and Senk (2011), “If the quality of education for every child is to be improved, the education of teachers needs to be taken seriously” (p. 134). Those involved in preparing teachers of mathematics must ensure that all their candidates have the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to provide all students access to meaningful experiences with mathematics.

The Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators (AMTE) is the largest U.S. professional organization devoted to the preparation of teachers of mathematics. AMTE includes more than 1,000 members supporting preservice teacher education and professional development of teachers of mathematics at all levels from Pre-K–12. AMTE members include professors, researchers, teacher leaders, school-based and district mathematics supervisors and coordinators, policymakers, graduate students, and others. The Standards described in this document reflect AMTE’s leadership in shaping the preparation of Pre-K–12 teachers of mathematics, including clearly articulated expectations for what well-prepared beginning mathematics teachers need to know and be able to do upon completion of a certification or licensing program and the characteristics such programs must have to support teachers' development.

Although the field continues to conduct research regarding effective practices for teacher preparation, we have a growing research base describing what teaching practices affect student learning and student experiences in mathematics classrooms. As an example, research indicates that focusing only on teachers' behaviors has a smaller effect on teachers’ development and subsequently on their students’ learning than does focusing on teachers’ knowledge of the subject, on the curriculum, or on how students learn the subject (Carpenter, Fennema, Peterson, & Carey, 1988; Kennedy, 1998; Kwong et al., 2007; Philipp et al., 2007).

A number of recent documents address various aspects of the initial preparation of mathematics teachers.[1] Table O.1 summarizes their focus. Although all these documents inform mathematics teacher preparation, no single, comprehensive document addresses the initial preparation of mathematics teachers across Pre-K–12. AMTE’s goal is for the standards in this document to provide a clear, comprehensive vision for initial preparation of teachers of mathematics. Building on the documents in Table 0.1, we, in this document’s standards, elaborate what beginning teachers of mathematics must know and be able to do as well as the dispositions they must have to increase equity, access, and opportunities for the mathematical success of each student. Given the challenges that teachers of mathematics face in preparing their students for future success, mathematics teacher educators must be guided by a well-articulated vision to prepare teachers of mathematics to meet those challenges. In this document, we take up that charge.

Table 0.1. Standards and Reports Related To Preparing Teachers of Mathematics

Standards and Reports Specific to Mathematics Teachers

The Mathematical Education of Teachers II (MET II)

The MET II (Conference Board of Mathematical Sciences [CBMS], 2012) addressed the mathematical content knowledge well-prepared beginning teachers of mathematics should know at the elementary, middle and high school levels.

National Council of Teachers of Mathematics’ Council for the Association of Educator Preparation (CAEP) Standards

The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) CAEP Standards (NCTM & CAEP, 2012a, 2012b) described what effective preservice teachers of secondary mathematics should know and be able to do, informing program reviews for middle and high school mathematics programs.

Statistical Education of Teachers (SET)

SET (Franklin et al., 2015) describes the statistical content knowledge well-prepared beginning teachers of mathematics should know at the elementary, middle and high school levels.

Teacher Education and Development Study in Mathematics (TEDS-M)

In the TEDS-M, researchers examined and discussed findings and challenges related to the mathematics education of future primary, middle, and high school teachers (Tatto & Senk, 2011).

Standards Not Specific to Mathematics That Also Apply to Teachers of Mathematics

Association for Middle Level Education (AMLE) Middle Level Teacher Preparation Standards with Rubrics and Supporting Explanations

AMLE (2012) describes five standards, including one on content, which addresses content, standards for students, and the interdisciplinary nature of knowledge.

Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) Initial Preparation Standards

The CEC (2012) standards require that beginning professionals understand and use mathematics concepts to individualize learning for students.

Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) Accreditation Standards

The CAEP (2013) describes candidate and program expectations that define quality programs. Among these is the expectation that candidates demonstrate content and pedagogical knowledge in their content domains.

National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) Standards for Initial and Advanced Early Childhood professional Preparation Programs

The NAEYC (2010) professional standards describe the importance of knowing mathematics and teaching it in ways that promote sense making and nurture positive development.

Standards for Experienced Teachers of Mathematics

Standards for Elementary Mathematics Specialists

In the Standards for Elementary Mathematics Specialists (2013), AMTE outlined “particular knowledge, skills, and dispositions” needed by elementary mathematics specialists who “teach and support others who teach mathematics at the elementary level.” (p. iv)

Interstate Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium (InTASC) Model Core Teaching Standards

The InTASC Model Core Teaching Standards (Council of Chief State School Officers [CCSSO], 2013) are used in states, school districts, professional organizations, and teacher education programs to support teachers.

National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) Standards

The NBPTS standards recognize accomplished teachers and included certifications for early childhood and elementary school generalists (2012a, 2012b), and middle school and high school mathematics teachers (2010).


[1] For the purposes of this document, mathematics teacher preparation includes preparation to teach statistics, following common practice. However, we recognize that statistics and statistics education, although related to mathematics and mathematics education, are distinct. This document will use the term mathematics to encompass mathematics and statistics; when the distinction between mathematics and statistics is important to emphasize, statistics will be identified separately.


This document includes a set of comprehensive standards describing a national vision for the initial preparation of all teachers Pre-K–12 who teach mathematics. That is, in addition to early childhood and elementary school teachers who teach all disciplines, middle grade teachers, and high school mathematics teachers, these standards are also directed toward special education teachers, teachers of emergent multilingual students, and all others who have responsibility for aspects of student learning in mathematics.

These standards are intended to

  • guide the improvement of individual teacher preparation programs,
  • inform the accreditation process of such programs,
  • influence policies related to preparation of teachers of mathematics, and
  • promote national dialogue and action related to preparation of teachers of mathematics.

These standards are aspirational, advocating for mathematics teacher preparation practices that support candidates in becoming high-quality teachers who are ethical advocates for children and effectively guide student learning aligned with research and best practices, rather than describing minimum levels of competency needed by beginning teachers. The standards are intended both to build on existing research about mathematics teacher preparation and existing standards and to motivate researchers to investigate areas that are less well understood.


The audience for these standards includes all those involved in mathematics teacher preparation, including faculty and others involved in the initial preparation of mathematics teachers; classroom teachers and other Pre-K–12 school personnel who support student teachers and field placements; coordinators of mathematics teacher preparation programs; deans, provosts, and other program administrators who make decisions regarding content and funding of mathematics teacher preparation programs; CAEP, the largest accreditor of teacher education programs in the United States as well as state licensure or credentialing agencies/organizations; NCTM, the professional association responsible for setting standards for educator-preparation programs for preservice, middle, and high school mathematics; and other organizations, including specialized professional associations (e.g., NAEYC, CEC) and agencies focused on and involved in the preparation of mathematics teachers.

Organization of the Document

The AMTE Standards for Preparing Teachers of Mathematics are organized in the following way:

  • Chapter 1 describes the overall framework, including a set of assumptions that underlie the recommendations made throughout the document.
  • Chapter 2 provides standards for the professional knowledge, skills, and dispositions that well-prepared beginning teachers of mathematics need to possess related to content, teaching, learners and learning, and the social context of mathematics education. Each standard includes indicators describing what attainment of that standard by candidates entails.
  • Chapter 3 describes standards for mathematics teacher preparation programs designed to develop the knowledge, skills, and dispositions of their teacher candidates described in Chapter 2. Again, each standard includes indicators of what attainment of that standard by a program entails.
  • Chapters 4 through 7 provide specific elaborations of the standards in Chapters 2 and 3 to relate them to the specific needs for preparation of teachers of mathematics at different levels of instruction and discuss their alignment with other standards. These grade-bands include Prekindergarten to Grade 2 (early childhood), Grades 3 through 5 (upper elementary), Grades 6 through 8 (middle level), and Grades 9 through 12 (high school).
  • Chapter 8 provides recommendations for effectively assessing candidates and programs in meeting the standards and elaborations.
  • Chapter 9 provides advice on how the vision of this document can be attained, including action steps that those involved in mathematics teacher preparation.