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Secondary Teacher Preparation in Mathematics Institute for Mathematics and Education Tucson, Arizona March 7 – 8, 2008

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Secondary Teacher Preparation in Mathematics

Institute for Mathematics and Education

Tucson, Arizona

March 7 – 8, 2008

about math for america
About Math for America
  • Mission:

To improve the quality of mathematics education in our nation’s public schools by recruiting, training, and retaining highly qualified mathematics teachers.

  • Two Programs:
    • MƒA Fellowship
    • MƒA Master Teacher Program
m a fellowship
MƒA Fellowship


  • Increase the desirability of teaching as a career choice.
  • Recruit individuals with strong mathematics backgrounds into teaching, train them to be excellent teachers, retain them by providing appropriate professional and financial support.
  • Create a corps of outstanding mathematics teachers.
m a fellowship4
MƒA Fellowship

Creating a Corps

  • Year 1: Preparation
    • Full tuition scholarship to a full-time graduate education program at a Partner University leading to a master’s in education
    • Student teaching experience
    • $28,000 MƒA stipend
    • Professional development and Corps activities
  • Years 2 - 5: Teaching
    • Position as secondary school math teacher in New York City
    • New York City teacher’s salary + MƒA stipends totaling $62,000 over four years
    • Mentoring, coaching and support services
    • Professional development and Corps activities
two ways of addressing the issue of mathematical knowledge
Two Ways of Addressing the Issue of Mathematical Knowledge
  • MƒA Fellowships increase the mathematical knowledge of the teaching pool by making teaching a more attractive option to those with strong math proficiency. This means a focus on recruitment, screening and selection.
  • Programming is focused on improving Fellows’ mathematical knowledge and pedagogical practices.
eligibility requirements
Eligibility Requirements
  • Bachelor's degree with substantial coursework in mathematics. A minimum of 18 credits in math courses at the Calculus level or higher are required.
  • Candidates must be able to make a five year commitment to the MƒA Fellowship Program.
  • Candidates must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents of the U.S.
  • Individuals currently teaching, are certified to teach, or who have completed a graduate education degree program are not eligible.
screening and selection
Screening and Selection
  • Content Knowledge Test (PRAXIS II)
  • On-line application, including letters of recommendation, transcripts, and a personal statement
  • Interview
screening and selection interview
Screening and Selection - Interview
  • Invited candidates are interviewed by a team of three - mathematician, mathematics educator, and community stakeholder
  • Rubric – “Do the candidates know mathematics, are they passionate about the subject, do they have the personality traits needed to be an effective teacher?”
  • Debate between members of the screening and selection community: What does it mean to know mathematics?
sample interview questions
Sample Interview Questions
  • “Tell me everything you know about the square root of two.”
  • “Why can’t you divide by zero?”
  • “Why is a number raised to the zero power one? What about zero raised to the zero power?”
  • “If you had to put together a curriculum, what order would you teach the following topics: exponentials, higher order polynomials, linear functions, quadratics?”
the result of screening and selection m a fellows
The Result of Screening and SelectionMƒA Fellows
  • MƒA Fellows: Mean SAT-V: 654, Mean SAT-M: 726
  • According to an ETS report, SAT-V for teachers certified in mathematics is 544. SAT-M for teachers certified in mathematics 597
  • MƒA Fellows: Average number of math courses taken pre-service: 18.1
  • According to the US Department of Education, the average number of math courses taken by “highly qualified” middle school math teachers: 8.8; high school teachers: 13.1
  • Monthly seminars lead by outside experts and members of the Math for America community
  • Ongoing classroom observations by experienced math educators
  • Social and network building opportunities
looking ahead a national corps
Looking Ahead – A National Corps
  • New York City Fellowship program – a model for expansion
    • MƒA San Diego and MƒA Los Angeles admit first cohort of Fellows, spring 2008.
    • Creation of National Science Foundation Teaching Fellowship to substantially increase the number of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) teachers.
m a expansion
MƒA Expansion

Core components of all MƒA Fellowship programs:

  • Applicants must exhibit a strong knowledge of mathematics
  • Tuition free university training to develop pedagogical skills and deeper content knowledge
  • Teacher driven mentoring and professional development
  • Generous incentive system to increase the number of mathematically talented people choosing teaching as a career
m a expansion18
MƒA Expansion
  • MƒA with partners sites develop programs that reflect community needs.
  • Benefits received by partner sites include:
    • Programmatic support
    • Seed funding
    • Existing MƒA website and marketing efforts
    • Membership in a growing community of math teachers, educators, and advocates.
Math for America

Creating a national corps of teachers

who know and love math.