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Research Report - Knowing Mathematics: What We Can Learn from Teachers

Abstract

The report highlights data collected from over 4,100 K-12 teachers in nearly 60 participating school districts in Michigan and Ohio. PROM/SE surveyed K-12 mathematics teachers about their knowledge of mathematics for teaching and how they acquired it. Key findings reveal significant differences among grade bands and in participating districts in teachers' feelings of preparedness to teach nearly 50 mathematics topics. Data reveal that elementary and middle school teachers do not feel well prepared to teach higher math topics which most likely impacts their ability to lay critical foundations for their students' later, higher math success. Long-term and systematic solutions for K-12 districts, professional development, and teacher preparation programs are discussed. Key recommendations for districts are provided, including: recognizing that teachers need professional development that focuses on specific topics in the mathematics school curriculum to offer them a deep understanding of these topics; assigning the most mathematically sophisticated teachers to foundational high school courses such as first year algebra; and creating induction programs for beginning teachers that emphasize the teaching of specific mathematics content.

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