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Best Elements of Mathematics Education Are Hard to Define

April 18, 2008

Last month's report by the National Mathematics Advisory Panel revealed little about what constitutes effective mathematics instruction, according to an analysis of the report by Education Week.

"The uncertainty about math teaching skills," said Education Week, "emerges at a time when policymakers at all levels see a need to boost students' math and science achievement as a key to sustaining the nation's future economic health and producing a skilled workforce."

The 90-page document emphasized one startling item: that it is difficult to pinpoint the credentials and training that would have the greatest impact on preparing teachers to teach mathematics. Research has not provided "consistent or convincing" evidence that students of certified mathematics teachers benefit more than students of noncertified teachers.

"Similarly," said Education Week, a "weak connection exists between teachers' college math course taking and the achievement of their students at the elementary level, though there was a stronger link between that educational background and high school achievement."

"It is, in some ways, where the action has to come next," said panel member Deborah Loewenberg Ball. "We should put a lot of careful effort over the next decade into this issue so that we can be in a much different place 10 years from now."

Source: Education Week (April 2, 2008)

Start Date: 
Friday, April 18, 2008