Math teachers in the United States need better training if the nation’s K-12 students are going to compete globally, according to international research released by a Michigan State University scholar.
William Schmidt, University Distinguished Professor of education, found that prospective U.S. elementary and middle-school math teachers are not as prepared as those from other countries. And this, combined with a weak U.S. math curriculum, produces similarly weak student achievement, he said.
The Teacher Education Study in Mathematics, or TEDS-M, is by far the largest of its kind, surveying more than 3,300 future teachers in the United States and 23,244 future teachers across 16 countries. Schmidt led the U.S. portion of the project.
“We must break the cycle in which we find ourselves,” said Schmidt, who presented his findings at a Washington news conference.
“A weak K-12 mathematics curriculum in the U.S., taught by teachers with an inadequate mathematics background, produces high school graduates who are at a disadvantage. When some of these students become future teachers and are not given a strong background in mathematics during teacher preparation, the cycle continues.”
More rigorous K-12 math standards, which are part of the Common Core State Standards Initiative, will be completed soon by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State Officers. The standards are expected to be adopted by a majority of the 48 states considering them. Read more…