Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Aspiring teachers fall short on math
Nearly 75 percent fail revamped section of state licensing test


'Not all our students are receiving a strong math education.' -- Mitchell Chester, Massachusetts Commissioner of elementary and secondary education


Anonymous said...

What do you expect? This is the generation raised on Everyday Math. It is 2009!

Anonymous said...

I read through many of the comments on the link. Many are just plain mean spirited and ignorant of an important fact. The aspiring teachers as well as the currently certified teachers have PLAYED BY THE RULES and have met the necessary requirements AT THE TIME to become certified. To criticize and belittle them now, after-the-fact, is unfair at best or immoral at worst. Many commenters are blaming the wrong people, the teachers. The State certifies the teachers. It is beyond the individual teachers' control to set certification standards. This is the same process to license doctors, lawyers, etc. The commenters who are unhappy with teacher quality should petition their state representatives to adopt more rigorous certification requirements so that in 4 years you can begin getting the results you are looking for.

Anonymous said...

I agree - the contempt I hold is with policies and procedures that discriminate against people, not the people.

Demonizing teachers goes hand and glove with math reform. When authors of said textbooks are allowed to impose their will on schools, namely that a particular style of teaching must be used with their textbook to impart learning. They are demogogues. They know their own doctrines to be false. School reform, like math reform should be treated with deep skepticism.

When the majority of countries have adopted math programs similiar to the Asians, only then perhaps will the NCTM leadership give up on selling the Great Lie to an audience it perceives as idiots.

Anonymous said...

Politicians and math consultants need to grow up. The US public education system has yet to mature in order to compete with the academic programs in other countries.

Lets start by creating one curriculum (one textbook) that works for all students. This does not mean success for all. Far from it. Rather first, it must be a curriculum that is popular with all students. They must agree that it is a good textbook. One o the biggest criticisms of Everyday Math is that it teaches non-standard algorithms. That is a flaw that cannot be easily fixed. It will always be a controversial text, precisely because it will never achieve even average results. It is an underpowered textbook and not worth the paper its printed on.

Standardized testing doesn't work. The US is the only country in the world that uses it. Why?

I am in favor of using a grade scale on diplomas that affects eligibility into different vocational or college programs. That seems doable and it acknowledges that some students work harder in high school than others. Remedial teaching at the university level is a waste for parents and students. We are not acknowledging that most freshmen are not prepared to attend the UW.

A musician would be far more successful in high school if all they took were music classes. They should not be held to the same standard as other students. A vocation or trade is a perfectly reasonable goal for most hs students.

Anonymous said...

Why don't the teacher's unions have a belief statement regarding math instruction? They do for all other subjects. What makes math exempt?

Math reform is driving school reform by lowering student academic performance.

If Obama and his politicals have their way with public education, you will see 5000 schools (the lowest 1% of non-performing schools) closed resulting in another decade of chaos, neglect, and abuse of children.

Anonymous said...

The reason for the 75% failure rate was probably because the state relaxed standards for math teachers, allowing more non-qualified teachers to take the test, on account of more charter schools and the lack of trained math teachers. Another reason not given was there are now more unemployed college graduates.

I'm bursting with optimism today!

Anonymous said...

Mean-spirited? What would one expect after listening for 15 years to Calvinist reform mongers preaching their idiotic dogma. Let's play at discovering math by reading Core Plus or rather shall we all just fall asleep at our desks?

Ignorant? What redeeming qualities does math reform have other than acting like a lapdog and attracting outside consultants to perform miracles, like rid the world of bad teachers. What world are you living on?

School reform is a bit like oats. Some use oats to feed horses; still others use oats to feed themselves. In the US, some feed school reform to those others.

Math reform is a bit like feeding a dog with a carrot. I've never seen it done, have you?

Anonymous said...

How many alternative routes are there to get a teacher certification in Massachusetts.

(Please notice Teach for America at the bottom of the list. I rest my case. I am no longer surprised that 75% of the test takers could not pass the revamped math test.)

CLASS A is the category reserved for those routes that meet the following criteria:

The alternative teacher certification route has been designed for the explicit purpose of attracting talented individuals who already have at least a bachelor's degree in a field other than education into elementary and secondary school teaching.
The alternate route is not restricted to shortages, secondary grade levels or subject areas.
These alternative teacher certification routes involve teaching with a trained mentor, and any formal instruction that deals with the theory and practice of teaching during the school year -- and sometimes in the summer before and/or after.
CLASS B: Teacher certification routes that have been designed specifically to bring talented individuals who already have at least a bachelor's degree into teaching. These routes involve specially designed mentoring and some formal instruction. However, these routes either restrict the route to shortages and/or secondary grade levels and/or subject areas.

CLASS C: These routes entail review of academic and professional background, and transcript analysis of the candidate. They involve specially (individually) designed inservice and course-taking necessary to reach competencies required for certification, if applicable. The state and/or local school district have major responsibility for program design.

CLASS D: These routes entail review of academic and professional background, and transcript analysis. They involve specially (individually) designed inservice and course-taking necessary to reach competencies required for certification, if applicable. An institution of higher education has major responsibility for program design.

CLASS E: These post-baccalaureate programs are based at an institution of higher education.

CLASS F: These programs are basically emergency routes. The prospective teacher is issued some type of emergency certificate or waiver which allows the individual to teach, usually without any on-site support or supervision, while taking the traditional teacher education courses requisite for full certification.

CLASS G: Programs in this class are for persons who have few requirements left to fulfill before becoming certified through the traditional approved college teacher education program route, e. g., persons certified in one state moving to another; or persons certified in one endorsement area seeking to become certified in another.

CLASS H: This class includes those routes that enable a person who has some "special" qualifications, such as a well-known author or Nobel prize winner, to teach certain subjects.

CLASS I: These states reported that they were not implementing alternatives to the approved college teacher education program route for licensing teachers.

CLASS J: These programs are designed to eliminate emergency routes. They prepare individuals who do not meet basic requirements to become qualified to enter an alternate route or a traditional route for teacher licensing.

CLASS K: These avenues to certification accommodate specific populations for teaching, e.g., Teach for America, Troops to Teachers and college professors who want to teach in K-12 schools.

dan dempsey said...

Consider this:
"Math, like English, is a critical subject area that students need to master to be successful later in school, college and in life," said BESE Chair Maura Banta. "This new requirement appropriately raises the bar to ensure that our youngest students get a solid grounding in math early on."

The cut score for passing which 27% of the teachers achieved or surpassed was 24 correct out of 40.
That is a cut score of 60%.

It would be interesting to see the 40 questions.
I wonder what the average Singapore 5th grade student would have scored?

Anonymous said...

If Teach for America is going to use a loophole and hire teachers for less pay with an alternative (substandard) certification then perhaps they should expend more effort and prepare them first for the math examination.

Anonymous said...

What does the math reform movement know about ethics or morality? Shall we talk about textbooks and textbook adoptions? If it works, then where's the research?