Middle School Mathematics Certificate Program

 

Overview

 

The Middle School Mathematics Certificate Program is a professional development program intended to meet the needs of licensed teachers who desire to extend their mathematical and pedagogical knowledge in middle school mathematics.  The program, housed in the Department of Mathematics, consists of eight graduate mathematics courses specifically designed to provide a broad mathematics background appropriate for middle school teachers and a familiarity with the current middle school curriculum and assessment ideas.   The program will offer 10 graduate credits through on-campus summer courses and academic year web-based courses. Teachers will be awarded a Certificate in Middle School Mathematics upon successful completion of this 10-credit program and achievement of a passing score on the Praxis II Subject Assessment: Middle School Mathematics (a national test administered through the Educational Testing Center). 

 

The content and pedagogical practices of these courses are consistent with the reform recommendations of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics and Wisconsin’s Department of Public Instruction (DPI).  Therefore, the content-related outcomes for each of the courses focus on both the teaching and learning of mathematics.  More specifically, the learning objectives for each course include the following: 

 

  • Development of multiple strategies or approaches to solve and explain mathematical problems.
  • Development of a knowledge base regarding current and historical research on the teaching and learning of mathematics.
  • Development and modification of instructional activities and assessment tools for appropriate use in the classroom.
  • Development and implementation of an action research plan to analyze student learning outcomes in mathematics.     

 

Statement of Benefits to Mathematics Department, College of Science and Allied Health, and licensed school teachers

 

The proposed certificate program will serve as an indicator that the University, including the College of Science and Allied Health, supports a strong and active mathematics education program, which, in turn, will attract students interested in mathematics education.

 

The federal No Child Left Behind Act requires that all teachers be “highly qualified” in the grade level and subject they are teaching.  This certificate program will enable licensed teachers who are teaching or who wish to teach middle school mathematics to demonstrate that they are “highly qualified” to teach in this area. 

 

A recent survey (Miron, Middle Level Mathematics Teacher Survey, UW-L, 2003) indicated that 89% of Wisconsin middle school teachers have minimal preparation in mathematics. Moreover, the middle school mathematics curriculum has changed significantly within the past decade.  Topics such as probability, statistics, algebra and functions, not previously included in the middle school curriculum, are now emphasized.  Methods of assessing student learning in mathematics have also changed significantly.  Hence this certificate program has the potential to benefit a large number of licensed teachers.

 

The program also has the potential to impact hundreds of middle school students each year by enhancing the mathematical content knowledge and teaching skills of their classroom teachers.

 

 

Goals

 

The goals of the certification program are to offer a comprehensive mathematics program that:

 

  • Enhances and extends teacher content knowledge in mathematics and its relationship to the mathematical content appropriate for middle school students.
  • Models research based teaching methods consistent with the current recommendations for the middle school mathematics classroom.
  • Introduces teachers to multiple assessment measures used to examine student learning outcomes.
  • Provides opportunities for teachers to critically examine student learning outcomes in mathematics through action research methodologies.
  • Increases the number of teachers who meet the definition of “highly qualified teacher”* as outlined by both Federal Regulation (ESEA/NCLB) and Wisconsin DPI requirements under PI-34: The Quality Educator Initiative.

 

*The Wisconsin DPI definition of a “highly qualified” teacher is one who meets all the requirements of PI 34 for the subjects and levels that he/she is teaching, including a rigorous exam in the subjects being taught.

 

Admission to the Program

 

The admission requirements are:

 

  • A baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution.
  • (a) an overall undergraduate grade point average of at least 2.85 on a 4.00 scale, or (b) an average of at least 3.00 in the last half of all undergraduate work, or (c) an average of at least 3.00 for no fewer than 12 semester credits of graduate study at another accredited graduate institution.  Admission on probation may be granted to applicants with undergraduate grade point averages below 2.85, who are otherwise qualified, if there is evidence of the applicant’s ability to do satisfactory graduate work.
  • Departmental approval to enter the certification program.
  • Teaching Licensure.
  • A minimum of 3 years teaching experience.

 

These admission requirements are consistent with UW-L’s general admission requirements to graduate study (see page 11 of the Graduate Catalog).

 

 

Program Requirements

 

The program will require teachers to take six 1-credit summer courses and two 2-credit academic year web-based courses.  All credits will be in the Mathematics Department.

 

MTH 651         Numbers and Operations in Middle School Mathematics           (1 credit)

MTH 652         Geometry and Measurement in Middle School Mathematics      (1 credit)

MTH 653         Algebraic Reasoning in Middle School Mathematics                  (1 credit)

MTH 654         Probability in Middle School Mathematics                                 (1 credit)

MTH 655         Statistics in Middle School Mathematics                                    (1 credit)

MTH 656         Functions and Graphs in Middle School Mathematics                (1 credit)

MTH 657         Mathematical Problem Solving in

 Middle School Mathematics                                                     (2 credits)

MTH 658         Mathematical Assessment in Middle School Mathematics          (2 credits)

 

Proposed Schedule

 

2005

2006

Summer

MTH 651

MTH 652

MTH 653

MTH 654

MTH 655

MTH 656

Fall

MTH 657

 

Spring

 

MTH 658

 

In addition to coursework, the completion of the certificate requires all students to submit a passing score (minimum of 152) on the PRAXIS II Subject Assessment: Middle School Mathematics (20069).  Currently 20 states require passing scores on this test to be able to teach middle school mathematics.  Because Wisconsin does not require this test, a passing score of 152 has been recommended for certification.  All but 3 of the states requiring this test set a passing score of 152 or less.  Of states closest to Wisconsin, Minnesota requires 152 and North Dakota 141. 

 

 

Program Prerequisites

 

The program’s prerequisites include the general graduate admission requirements, teaching licensure, and a minimum of three years teaching experience. 

 

GPA Requirements for Certificate Completion

 

Consistent with UW-L graduate programs and Department of Public Instruction requirements, the academic standard for certification completion will be a minimum of a 3.0 cumulative GPA.

 

Articulation with UW-L Select Mission

 

The proposed Middle School Mathematics Certificate Program is sponsored by the Masters in Education – Professional Development degree program. This program also supports the UW-L select mission of offering programs related to areas of emphasis and strength within the institution (mathematics education), providing services and professional expertise, and of meeting the broader educational needs of the region (professional development of Wisconsin teachers).   (See page 6 of Graduate Catalog.)

 

Administration, Staffing, and Budgeting

 

The Mathematics Department currently has two positions in mathematics education and another open position in mathematics education.  These faculty are willing and qualified to teach the proposed courses.

 

Frequency of Course Offerings

 

Three of the 1-credit courses will be taught the first summer, one 2-credit course will be offered each semester of the subsequent academic year and the other three 1-credit courses will be taught the second summer.  This sequence will be repeated in subsequent years as outlined below.

 

 

2005

2006

2007

2008

Summer

MTH 651

MTH 652

MTH 653

MTH 654

MTH 655

MTH 656

MTH 651

MTH 652

MTH 653

MTH 654

MTH 655

MTH 656

Fall

MTH 657

 

MTH 657

 

Spring

 

MTH 658

 

MTH 658

 

 

Advising of Students

 

Ongoing advising will be conducted by the faculty teaching the courses in this program and by the chair of the Mathematics Department.

 

Student Support Services

 

At this time, there are no anticipated needs for other student support services for this certification program.

 

Administrative Unit

 

The certificate program will be housed in the Mathematics Department.