Date of Award
© 2018 Jessica Cefalo Osich
Doctor of Education (EdD)
The purpose of this study was to investigate elementary pre-service teacher preparation in mathematics offered in undergraduate education programs in the state of Maine. The research questions were: How many mathematics courses are undergraduate programs requiring pre-service teachers to take for their baccalaureate education? Within the courses that are required, how many are mathematical content courses, and how many are mathematical pedagogical courses? How does a knowledgeable informant characterize the quality of elementary pre-service teacher preparation in mathematics at their institutions? And, how do faculty evaluate student-teacher competence in math preparation? The conceptual framework was based on three core ideas: pre-service teacher preparation programs, mathematical content knowledge and teacher quality. Data was collected through an online data collection process and in-depth phone interviews with representatives from eight colleges and universities in the state of Maine. Analysis of each college’s preparation programs showed that mathematics is a key component in teacher preparation. However, findings indicate the following:
Participants noted that many of their programs required more credits than the state of Maine requires pre-service teachers to take. Maine colleges provide structured expectations and at least a B-average in their education courses to provide rigor for their pre-service teachers. Passing Praxis I is normally required before the students reach their sophomore year in the program, and the passing of Praxis II needs to occur before students start their student-teaching senior year. While Praxis exams present an academic roadblock, their use has raised the level of mathematics preparation. The Teacher Education Alliance of Maine (TEAMe) was developed by math educators to share and strengthen practices of preparing teachers in higher learning (Department of Maine, 2017). Most programs use of school-wide rubrics to provide consistency in their grading systems. Classroom-based observations provide a final opportunity to review student teacher content knowledge.
Informants expressed concerns about and opportunities for the addition of more mathematics courses into programs and their goals to provide strong foundational knowledge for pre-service teachers. Implications from this research are the following: Although the state has established rather low standards for mathematical preparation, many colleges and universities require more than that minimum. While the schools have a unique way of presenting their curriculum and courses, overall the schools’ purposes are aligned. Program leaders should continue adding to their mathematics curriculum to manage the many mathematical needs for their future teachers while still targeting requirements of the Praxis I test.
Osich, Jessica Cefalo, "Mathematics Instruction In Pre-Service Undergraduate Programs In The State of Maine" (2018). All Theses And Dissertations. 177.