A beginning descriptive profile in mathematics for pre-service elementary education majors at Mississippi State University
Haley, Emma Goodloe
AdvisorHare, R. Dwight
Davidson, O. Lelon
There has been much concern about how teachers teach math in the elementary classroom. With increasing accountability standards from the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB; United States Department of Education 2002), students in the elementary grades are tested for mathematical ability. Elementary teachers have felt pressured to teach certain subjects in the classroom as a result of statewide and nationally mandated student testing. This research should add to the data available to those higher institutions that are seeking ways to design programs to help improve the teaching of mathematics and the understanding mathematics students possess. Faculty members in the elementary education program at Mississippi State University were interested in determining ways to assist students in becoming better teachers. The Conference Board of the Mathematical Sciences (2001) has made many statements about the need for teachers to have deep understanding of school mathematics concepts and procedures. This study was designed as a first step in determining if the mathematics courses and materials are helping pre-service teachers comply with NCTM, Principles and Standards for Schools Mathematics (2000), and the No Child Left Behind Act (2001). Also it was designed to determine the needs of students and to help university faculty find ways to help math educators make sense of mathematics. The overall goal of the study was to assist elementary education faculty in establishing a descriptive profile in mathematics for pre-service elementary education teacher majors. Descriptive statistics were generated for the variables in this study. Data analysis of the descriptive profile revealed that most teacher made tests such as grades in university required mathematics courses; scores on grades in Structure of the Real Number System, Problem Solving, and Informal Geometry and Measurement, 45 GPA core courses; Student Teaching; and Overall GPA categories were consistent across cohorts of students. A recommendation was made to survey the original sample two to three years later with survey questions and open-ended questions to see if what they learn as preservice elementary majors helped them to teach mathematics as novice teachers.