Mathematics and Statistics Education
All Mathematics Education and Mathematics & Statistics Composite Teaching majors within the Department of Mathematics and Statistics are expected to achieve competency in: (1) pre-calculus algebra; (2) calculus of one and several variables; (3) ordinary differential equations; (4) linear algebra/matrices, eigenvalues/ eigenvectors, determinant, rank; and (5) analysis (introduction to formal proofs/analysis theory). Additionally students in mathematics education programs must have competence in (6) algebraic structures; (7) modern geometry; (8) statistics; (9) methods for secondary school teaching of mathematics and statistics; and (10) field-based teaching experiences. They must complete the Secondary Teaching Education Program (STEP) in order to become state certified teachers.
Mathematics teaching majors by the time of graduation will be able to demonstrate competency in research-based teaching methods as recommended by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. They will demonstrate the ability to access and utilize pedagogical resources by successfully completing the Secondary Teaching Education Program (STEP) including coursework, clinical experiences, portfolio preparation and student teaching.
Mathematics Education majors at USU have coursework, clinical experiences and student teaching experience in the Secondary Teaching Education Program (STEP) of the College of Education and Human Services. The assessment procedure is described below. In addition, all students must demonstrate their content knowledge by passing the ETS PRAXIS exam prior to their student teaching experience.
The evaluation of the Secondary Teacher Education Program (STEP) is based on measures of student performance. The performances that are measured on the STEP are derived from the Interstate New Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium (INTASC) standards:
- Content Pedagogy
- Student Development
- Diverse Learners
- Multiple Instructional Strategies
- Motivation and Management
- Communication and Technology
- Reflective Practice: Professional Growth
- School and Community Involvement
Three unique performance assessments were developed from the conceptual framework of the ten INTASC standards. These assignments allow on-going evaluation of student performance and progress as well as data for the evaluation of the program. The three assessments are described below.
Students in the Mathematics Education Major/Minor and the Mathematics and Statistics Composite Education Major develop a professional portfolio that is an integral tool in the assessment of their professional performance as a teacher.
The portfolio includes exhibits that reflect the teacher candidate’s competencies in the following categories:
- Cognition, Instructional Strategies, and Planning
- Motivation, Engagement, and Classroom Management
- Multicultural Education
- Exceptionality and Accommodation
- Mathematics and the Historical Foundations of Mathematics
- Students’ Real-World Problems
- Professional Development
Students select materials and exhibits from the professional education courses, courses in their major/minor, clinical experiences, as well as other experiences they have had working with children to demonstrate successful performance of knowledge skills, and attitudes reflected in the 10 standards of teaching in the conceptual framework. In every secondary education course, the relationship between course work, the conceptual framework, and the portfolio is explained. Students are taught how to analyze the materials they select and how to write a rationale explaining why the artifact fits the standard(s) indicated by the student. Students must complete the portfolio before entering student teaching. The reviews of the portfolios allow faculty to identify areas of the program that are successfully preparing students to perform as teachers.
Student Teaching Performance Report (STPR)
The Student Teaching Performance Report (STPR) uses the same INTASC standards as the professional portfolio. The form identities tasks for each principle that delineates the knowledge, skills, and dispositions that constitutes successful performance. The evaluation form is completed jointly by the student teacher, cooperating teacher, and university supervisor and is used as a summative evaluation of that student’s performance. Level of performance is indicated as a continuum from successful completion of the task to unsuccessful performance.
Performance Surveys of First Year Teachers
While the previous three sources of data are compiled as students complete the secondary education program, the performance surveys of first year teachers are designed to gather data about the students’ performance after the first year of teaching. Surveys are sent to the graduates of the secondary education program and their principals at the end of their first year of teaching. The surveys provide data as to how well beginning teachers perform in relation to the ten standards that make up the secondary education program. Information obtained from the surveys provides information for the evaluation of the secondary education program.
Prior to student teaching all teaching majors must meet a State of Utah mandated passing score in the ETS PRAXIS exam in their content area. Knowledge of the content area for Mathematics teaching majors as assessed by the PRAXIS exam for the past five years is below.
PRAXIS Results for 5161 Mathematics: Content Knowledge
Taken September 1, 2013 to February 4, 2016
Total Passed: 54 (77%)
Total Fails: 16 (23%)
Total Number of Students:70
Number of individuals recommended for Initial Licensure or Certification for Secondary Mathematics Teaching
- July 2007-June 2008: 27
- July 2008-June 2009: 24
- July 2009-June 2010: 20
- July 2010-June 2011: 37
- July 2011-June 2012: 28
- July 2012-June 2013: 34
- July 2013-June 2014: 40
- July 2014-June 2015: 8
Students majoring in Elementary Education can take an emphasis in Mathematics leading to a Level 2 Math Endorsement.
PRAXIS Results for 5169 Middle School Mathematics
Taken September 1, 2013 to February 4, 2016
Total Passed: 107 (67%)
Total Failed: 53 (33%)
Total Number of Students: 160
In addition to these licensure exams, undergraduate programs in Education and Teaching are evaluated by:
- Student Course Evaluations
- College of Science interviews and questionnaire
- Self-Study and Regents Review