|June 20, 2001
||Vol. 12, No.8
Presents Mathematics Report
Recommends New Teaching Certificates
at Elementary, Middle Levels
The Maryland Mathematics Commission,
appointed in late 1999 by State Superintendent Nancy S. Grasmick,
delivered its report to the State Board of Education, recommending new
certification for elementary and middle school teachers of mathematics,
regularly scheduled, meaningful professional development opportunities
in mathematics for all teachers of mathematics, and more mathematics
instruction for all students.
Chaired by Dr. Francis (Skip) Fennell of Western Maryland College, the
32-member commission said all students in each year of their education
should be instructed by a fully certified mathematics teacher, and they
recommended two new mathematics teaching certificates.
Two New Certificates Recommended
An elementary mathematics specialist
certificate, similar to the reading specialist certificate already in
place in the state, would be offered at the graduate level. This would
create a cadre of elementary classroom teachers with mathematics
education expertise who could teach across or within grade levels and
help direct school-wide mathematics intervention programs for students.
The Commission recommended a teaching
certificate in middle school mathematics to allow elementary certified
teachers to become certified to teach middle school mathematics.
Elementary teachers would need to take
an additional 21 credits in mathematics and a methods course focusing on
the teaching and learning of middle school mathematics. The certificate
would require course work in algebra, geometry, statistics and
probability, and number and operations. All middle school mathematics
would then be taught by a teacher certified in middle school or
certified in secondary mathematics.
"Teacher quality is
the key to raising achievement
Dr. Nancy S.Grasmick
State Superintendent of Schools
Emphasizing the need for a balanced
mathematics curriculum pre-K through grade 12, the group urged MSDE and
local school systems to ensure that algebraic concepts and skills are
developed throughout the K-12 mathematics curriculum. They also
recommended that all students receive one hour of mathematics
instruction per day and that students be required to study mathematics
each year of high school.
Surveys indicate that more than 60% of Maryland businesses expect their
need for workers with technical knowledge and experience to increase.
Professional Development Important
The Commission said teachers should
have access to regularly scheduled, meaningful professional development
opportunities in mathematics, including opportunities to develop a
repertoire of teaching strategies to help students become competent
problem solvers and critical thinkers. Teachers must be supported in
their efforts to provide instruction that "facilitates mathematical
proficiency _ factual knowledge, procedural fluency, and conceptual
The Commission supported the
implementation of the Maryland High School Assessments and recommended
the Maryland Functional Mathematics Test be eliminated as a high school
They also recommended that all
mathematics students have appropriate access to calculators, computers,
and internet connections for both class work and homework.
Board Raises Score for Praxis II
Beginning July 1, elementary teacher
candidates in Maryland will have to receive a qualifying score of 142 on
the Praxis II Elementary Education Content Knowledge Test to be
certified to teach in the state.
The State Board of Education adopted
the new qualifying score, up from the 136 set in December 1999, after
reviewing the performance of Maryland elementary teacher candidates who
have taken the test since it became a requirement July 1, 2000.
The original score of 136 was set by
the State Board based on the recommendation of a panel of Maryland
educators who looked at the test to validate the content and recommend a
qualifying score. Since the test had not yet been administered
nationally, the State Board agreed to reconsider the qualifying score at
a later time.
The assessment focuses on the four
subject areas of language arts, mathematics, science, and social
Dr. Larry Leak, Assistant State
Superintendent, Certification and Accreditation, said three states are
currently using the new test, each requiring a different qualifying
score: Maryland, 136; New Jersey, 133; and Pennsylvania, 142 as of
September 1, 2001.
Elementary Teachers Can Now
Test Out of Reading Courses
The Maryland State Board of Education
adopted the Praxis II assessment Reading Across the Curriculum:
Elementary as a means of allowing incumbent elementary teachers to
"test out" of reading course requirements that were adopted by
the board in 1998.
Elementary teachers who take the test will have to achieve a score of 173 to quality.
The elementary teachers will be able to
substitute the Praxis for the four reading courses, a total of 12
semester hours, that were required for elementary teachers in the 1998
Secondary teachers will have to wait
longer for a test-out option. Changes are still being made in the
secondary test to make it appropriate for the reading instruction that
occurs in the secondary subject matter areas.
Members of the staff of the Maryland
State Department of Education have been working with Educational Testing
Service (ETS) to develop the two reading assessments that are based on
the International Reading Association standards and Maryland's reading
Each test consists of 60 multiple
choice questions and three constructed response questions.
State Moves Ahead
On Web-based Learning
Moving ahead to provide web-based
courses for students and professional development for teachers, the
State Board of Education accepted a report and implementation plan from
the Steering Committee for Web-based Learning appointed in the fall.
All of the state's 24 school systems
have expressed a need for web-based courses and 10 are currently
The committee's recommendations include
establishing the Maryland Virtual Learning Community that will give
students access to challenging high school curricula aligned to the
Maryland Content Standards and the Core Learning Goals.
The implementation plan focuses on
three major aspects: creating a web portal or single point of entry that
will provide services, resources and information; web-based courses for
students; and online professional development for educators.
Barbara Reeves, Director of
Instructional Technology for MSDE, said the committee is also
coordinating its work with what local school systems are doing and will
be serving in an advisory role supporting school systems interested in
using online courses.
Teachers will begin reviewing courses
this summer that are already available online and that local school
systems have said they need the most.
School & Community Outreach Office
Maryland State Department of Education
200 W. Baltimore Street
Baltimore, MD 21201
Web site: www.msde.state.md.us
Assistant State Superintendent