Mathematics Teacher Education and edTPA: Complex Assessing

Mathematics Teacher Education and edTPA: Complex Assessing

Dianne S. McCarthy (SUNY Buffalo State, USA) and Barbara A. Burns (Canisius College, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0204-3.ch009
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The development of the educative teacher performance assessment (edTPA) might be considered as beginning over a century ago as mathematics, mathematics teacher education, and the teaching profession strove to improve student learning. Professional teaching organizations such as the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards, industry, and government agencies have been seeking ways to improve teaching, to differentiate among teacher candidates to predict who will be successful teachers and who will not, and to raise the level of student achievement of all students. Along with these goals is the aspiration of recognizing teaching as a profession. To achieve this, complex assessment is necessary. Assessment of teachers, students and teacher preparation programs is necessary. edTPA could lead the way.
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History Of Mathematics Education And Mathematics Teacher Preparation

As the professional fields of mathematics and education made their debuts in the 1890s, courses in the teaching of mathematics began to evolve. Where no institutions had previously included these courses, the advent led to some interesting developments at the first five schools to embrace these fields of mathematics and education.

The University of Michigan, in 1892, led the way in their attempt to train high school mathematics teachers by establishing “teachers seminaries” – one in algebra and one in geometry. This was soon followed by Ypsilanti’s Michigan State Normal School which developed a program devoted to the strong academic and professional preparation of teachers. While this program included components similar to the “teachers seminaries” of the University of Michigan, it also included historical developments of the fields of algebra and geometry. In addition, this program included a required course entitled Professional Training in Arithmetic.

The University of Chicago and Teachers College in New York were the next on the scene with attention being paid to mathematics and education. While Chicago worked primarily on the formation of its mathematics department, they did pay special attention to the pedagogy of mathematics. While this focus began with a lecture series, it wasn’t long until a position was established for the assistant professor of mathematical pedagogy. At around the same time, Teachers College’s mathematics department had a threefold mission: “to prepare students to teach mathematics in elementary and secondary schools, to provide the introductory-level courses in algebra and geometry required of all students for admission to junior-year status, and to supervise mathematics instruction in the affiliated Horace Mann School” (Donoghue, 2013, p. 164).

Syracuse University rounded out this initial list of five schools to embrace mathematics and education. The mathematics department provided students an opportunity to learn the pedagogy of mathematics for those students who intended to teach mathematics.

Other institutions followed suit and began to offer specialized training in the preparation of mathematics teachers so, by the end of the first decade of the twentieth century, there were at least twenty-five institutions involved.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Performance Assessments: Evaluation based on the actions of teaching.

Teacher Candidate: An individual enrolled in a teacher preparation program.

Teacher Certification: License to teach granted by a state education department.

Authentic Assessment: An assessment that is created to mimic, as closely as possible, what teachers do.

Formative Assessment: An informal assessment of student understanding often used prior to teaching.

edTPA: A performance assessment that is educative and authentic and is used by some states as a certification requirement.

Conceptual Understanding: The “why” of mathematics: understanding the processes of mathematics.

Academic Language: The language of a discipline.

Procedural Fluency: The “how” of mathematics: automaticity with procedures, rules and basic computational facts.

Licensing Exam: An exam that must be passed to obtain teacher certification.

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