University of Montana Ranks In Top 10 For Preparing Elementary Teachers In Math
|July 16, 2008||View for printing|
The University of Montana is among only 10 schools in the nation that met all standards of a recent National Council on Teacher Quality study for preparation of teachers in mathematics.
The NCTQ report, “No Common Denominator: The Preparation of Elementary Teachers in Mathematics by America’s Education Schools,” was released last month. The analysis is the most comprehensive picture to date of how education schools are preparing – or failing to prepare – elementary teachers in mathematics.
The two-year study developed a set of five standards that would be the mark of a high-quality program of teacher training and evaluated a sample of 77 education schools. A team of renowned mathematics specialists from universities and K-12 education analyzed the quality of preparation required for elementary education majors at each institution. The schools selected for the study were located in every state except Alaska.
“The University of Montana’s ranking among the top 10 in the nation to meet all National Council on Teacher Quality standards for the preparation of elementary mathematics teachers offers external affirmation of the quality of the education provided by the University’s School of Education,” said UM President George Dennison.
School of Education Dean Roberta Evans found the news “very exciting,” noting that “visionary leadership for mathematics and science programs at the very highest levels of the University and state are proving invaluable to quality initiatives in these areas. This recognition demonstrates the dedication of the School of Education’s commitment to offer UM students the best possible preparation for teaching careers.”
Dennison and Evans both emphasized the increasing importance of mathematics education in today’s internationally competitive world, and Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer and his wife, Nancy, recently have stressed the need to improve mathematics and science education through the Governor and First Lady’s Math and Science Initiative.
NCTQ rated the schools by studying entrance and exit requirements, course syllabi and tests, textbooks, and state licensing tests. The report ranks a textbook co-authored by two UM educators second in quality of content covered among the 12 most frequently assigned by faculty members. The textbook – “A Problem Solving Approach to Mathematics” – received the study’s highest rating in algebra of the textbooks evaluated. Authors are UM math Professor Rick Billstein, UM math Professor Emeritus Johnny Lott and Shlomo Libeskind of the University of Oregon Department of Mathematics.
“At this time in our nation, it is difficult to imagine a more important aspect of teacher education than the preparation of mathematics teachers,” said UM Provost Royce Engstrom. “We are proud of the University’s mathematics educators, both in the School of Education and the College of Arts and Sciences, for designing such an effective program. It is rewarding to be among the leaders in the country in mathematics education.”
Sharing UM’s high-ranking status among schools that stand out for the quality of their mathematics preparation as “Education Schools with the Right Stuff” are the University of Georgia; Boston College; Indiana University, Bloomington; Lourdes College; University of Louisiana at Monroe; University of Maryland, College Park; University of Michigan; University of New Mexico; and Western Oregon University.
The full NCTQ report is available online at http://www.nctq.org .
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