Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Bad numbers

Only about 27% of the aspiring elementary school math teachers this year in Massachussetts passed the mathematics portion of the state licensing examination. Even scarier, this was the first year that new teachers needed to path the math portion: in previous years, you only needed an overall passing grade.

In other words, if this is a typical year, then 73% of all Mass. elementary school teachers in the field don't know school mathematics.

According to the Boston Globe, Tom Scott, the executive director of the state association of school superintendents, thinks that this is because new teachers aren't getting a good college education:
If you look at transcripts of some applicants for elementary school teaching positions, it's possible you could see a transcript without anything math related. Someone could have last taken a math class in high school.
This is not by any means a difficult test; if my fifth-grade teacher had given to me and I failed, my parents would have been very angry. Ironically though, my fifth-grade teacher probably had a real college degree instead of an "education" degree, so she wouldn't be allowed to teach nowadays anyway.