Monday, December 17, 2007

Middle School Math Teachers in the U.S. ...

... are not as prepared to teach the subject as their peers in five other countries according to a new study out by researchers at Michigan State University.

The study, Mathematics Teaching in the 21st Century (MT21), suggests the training of middle school math teachers in the U.S. is not sufficient to teach a demanding math curriculum. MT21 studied how well a sample of universities and teacher-training institutions prepare middle school math teachers in the U.S., South Korea, Taiwan, Germany, Bulgaria and Mexico. Specifically, 2,627 future teachers were surveyed about their preparation, knowledge and beliefs in this area.

According to the study:

Compared to the other countries, the U.S. future teachers ranked from the middle to the bottom on MT21 measures of math knowledge.

“What’s most disturbing is that one of the areas in which U.S. future teachers tend to do the worst is algebra, and algebra is the heart of middle school math,” said William Schmidt, MSU Distinguished Professor of counseling, educational psychology and special education, who directed the study. “When future teachers in the study were asked about opportunities to learn about the practical aspects of teaching mathematics, again we ranked mediocre at best.”

You can view the entire report online or listen to a podcast by William Schmidt.

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