This project studied how well a sample of universities and teacher-training institutions prepare middle school math teachers in the U.S., South Korea, Taiwan, Germany, Bulgaria and Mexico. Specifically, 2,627 future teachers in their final year of teacher preparation were surveyed about their preparation, knowledge and beliefs in this area. The length of teacher preparation requirements varied from four to seven years among the countries. Compared to the other countries, the U.S. future teachers ranked from the middle to the bottom on the constructed measures of math knowledge.
Other findings include: i) The best area for future teachers in the U.S. was statistics knowledge, where they performed near the average across the six countries. ii) Taiwanese and South Korean future teachers typically covered about 80 percent or more of advanced math topics in their training, while those in Mexico and the U.S. covered less than 50 percent. iii) In the practical aspect of teaching, the extent of coverage for U.S. future teachers was also substantially less than that provided by Taiwan and South Korea. iv) Future U.S. middle school math teachers in the study are trained in three kinds of programs: secondary programs, elementary programs and those that specifically prepare middle school teachers. v) Those prepared as secondary teachers have a stronger math preparation. Those prepared as elementary teachers have stronger teaching skills preparation. Those that prepare specifically as middle school teachers seem to have the worst preparation as found in the other two types of programs.
For project publications please see the following:
PROJECT WEB SITE: HTTP://WWW.EDUC.MSU.EDU/MT21
The Future Teacher survey contained a section assessing students’ mathematics knowledge for teaching. All of these items and some of the belief and attitude scales were written collaboratively specifically for this research.