Indicator P.5.1. Recruit Strong Candidates

Indicator P.5.1. Recruit Strong Candidates

An effective mathematics teacher preparation program uses a strategic process for recruiting candidates who are capable of supporting the mathematical learning of each and every student.


The process of recruiting future teachers of mathematics involves a multiple-step approach that includes informing potential candidates about different options and opportunities in teaching, providing experiences in which they work with learners of mathematics, and then assisting them in applying for admission to and seeking financial support for completing a teacher education program. Effective mathematics teacher preparation programs must carefully and strategically manage and involve staff and faculty in all aspects of the recruitment process (Dickey, 2016).

For example, the Mathematics Teacher Education Partnership Research Action Cluster (Ranta & Dickey, 2015) on recruitment has found that strategies specific to attracting high school and college students to programs leading to mathematics certification or licensure include the following:

  • Offering field experiences in school mathematics settings with exemplary teachers;
  • Providing scholarships targeted to high-need programs;
  • Promoting the need for secondary mathematics teachers in ways that demonstrate how the demand exceeds the supply of elementary school teachers or for secondary-level English/language art or social studies teachers;
  • Highlighting the integrated and active-learning curriculum intended for elementary and middle level learners;
  • Building a connection to the unique emotional and cognitive needs of adolescent learners;
  • Providing career counseling to liberal arts majors about major changes and certification options specific to teaching mathematics.

Mathematics teacher preparation programs assess candidates’ qualifications for admission using multiple measures that include both cognitive and dispositional factors. This process should uncover candidates' passion for and commitment to mathematics as a discipline and an essential component of an effective citizenry as well as their stances on embracing opportunities to learn, their commitments to helping students grow, and their commitments to equitable teaching. Consistent with CAEP (2013) Standard 2, cognitive measures that include grades in mathematics content courses or standardized mathematics test scores provide valuable information but are not sufficient in making a decision. Identifying dispositions of applicants must be part of an admission interview or essay that the mathematics teacher preparation program uses to inform both admissions and program-planning decisions. For all candidates, prompts that seek to uncover any implicit biases or deficit views of diverse children and families as well as such dispositions to avoid mathematics as “I was never good at mathematics” or “I prefer not to teach mathematics” should be included to allow counseling or a programmatic decision that will improve teacher candidates’ attitudes. Additionally, prompts are needed that address a commitment to the needs of all learners and that elicit a commitment to and enthusiasm for teaching and mathematical habits of mind.