Elementary pre-service teachers need to improve math skills

May 13, 2016 at 3:17 pm Leave a comment

Today’s Toronto Star (GTA section, p. 2) includes an item by Louise Brown titled [in the online edition] Elementary Teacher’s Weak Math Skills Spark Mandatory Crash Courses.

“Elementary teachers’ weak math skills — some can’t even recall Grade 6 fractions — have sent Ontario teachers’ colleges scrambling to launch mandatory crash courses, with some making student teachers pass a math test to graduate.”  Brown includes a list of steps/programs that the different Ontario teachers colleges are doing in order to increase comfort levels, refresh or increase skill levels.

In 2008, CMEC released a report titled: Teacher Education and Development Study in Mathematics and their report concluded on page 30 … “there are a few conclusions from the study that may help elicit further discussion among policymakers and educators:

• In general, Canadian institutions do not seem to have very strong requirements in mathematics for individuals wishing to enter into teacher-education programs. Other than assessments to meet the requirements for a course in mathematics or in mathematics education, there is no formal test of the mathematical knowledge or skills of future teachers at the completion of their program of study.

• Most educators of mathematics or of mathematics pedagogy for future teachers in Canadian universities are specialized in areas other than mathematics, and few hold a doctorate in the discipline. At the international level, about one-quarter of educators who participated in the TEDS-M study held a doctorate in mathematics, with a higher proportion in higher-performing countries. In Canada, 10 per cent of participating educators held a doctorate in mathematics.

• With regard to knowledge of mathematics and of mathematics pedagogy,Canadian future teachers at the elementary and lower-secondary levels performed above the international average. Although Canadian 15-year-olds have performed among the top-ranking countries in mathematics since the inception of PISA in 2000, it appears that there is potential for further improvement by possibly providing future teachers at the elementary level with more advanced training in mathematics that covers elements beyond the school curriculum, and by providing future teachers at the lower-secondary level with more advanced training in testing- and assessment related topics.”

Check ’em out! Rowan

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