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Keeping up with the Times: How are Teacher Preparation Programs Preparing Aspiring Teachers to Teach Mathematics Under the New Standards of Today?

Sudarsanan, Shalini Thirumulpad

The purpose of this study is to determine how well traditional elementary preparation programs and alternative elementary certification programs are perceived by teacher candidates, to prepare them to teach mathematics to the standards required today. Using a qualitative design, this study examines how various ranked elementary teacher preparation programs and alternative certification programs are preparing elementary teachers to teach the mathematics envisioned in the CCSSM.
Participants in this study all attended an undergraduate elementary teacher preparation program or an alternate route certification program. To paint a holistic picture of elementary teacher preparation in mathematics, each undergraduate elementary teacher preparation programs was ranked in a different level in the NCTQ Teacher Preparation Review. Qualitative surveys and interviews were used to gather data on participants' perceptions of their preparation in mathematics.
Twenty-five participants agreed to take part in this study. Participants filled out a two-part survey. The first part of the survey asked background questions on their coursework and field experiences in mathematics along with a survey on their beliefs about their ability to teach mathematics. The second part was a pedagogy survey that asked participants how they would teach particular mathematics concepts that now require a conceptual understanding in the CCSSM. Seven participants agreed to participate in a follow up interview to further investigate their experiences in mathematics preparation in their teacher education programs.
The data showed that there is little consistency in the mathematics education of elementary teachers within a teacher preparation program and across different teacher preparation programs. There is little standardization in the coursework for participants from different preparation programs and participants within the same program. The interviews revealed that the degree to which participants were able to teach mathematics in their field experiences also varied within and across teacher preparation programs. Furthermore, the interviews also unveiled that the CCSSM were also studied and utilized in different capacities within and across institutions. Lastly, the data from the surveys disclosed that the majority of participants feel that they have the ability to be effective teachers of mathematics yet the majority of participants teach mathematics for a procedural understanding.

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More About This Work

Academic Units
Mathematics Education
Thesis Advisors
Walker, Erica
Degree
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
February 12, 2015