- Year 2018
- NSF Noyce Award # 1135621
- First Name Andre
- Last Name Green
- Discipline Math
Andrea Kent, University of South Alabama.edu, email@example.com
Madhuri Mulekar, University of South Alabama, firstname.lastname@example.org
Christopher Lang, University of South Alabama, email@example.com
Albert Dru McCleave, University of South Alabama, firstname.lastname@example.org
Noyce Pathway to Mathematics is a collaborative program between a university’s College of Education, Arts and Sciences, and local school system. The program addresses the need to increase the number of math teachers by enabling recent graduates to complete a master’s degree and ceritification in an intensive four semester program. Currently the nearby school system is staffed, in many cases, by those unprepared or underprepared to teach mathematics, many of whom have no background in math.
Noyce Pathway to Mathematics (PTM) is a collaborative program between a local university’s College of Education, College of Arts & Sciences, and a public school system. Pathway to Mathematics addresses the desperate need to increase the number of math teachers in the school system through enabling recent math bachelor’s degree graduates to complete certification in an intensive four-semester program that culminates with certification and an earned master’s degree. Graduates participate in a two-year mentoring program designed to provide classroom support after graduation. Goals prepare a total of up to 20 math teachers over a five-year period; enhance student achievement by providing certified math teachers in those classrooms that currently have no certified teachers; and, create a replicable model that provides ongoing mentoring and professional development for novice math teachers to increase the probability that they will be retained and become career teachers.
The PTM program provides scholarships for recent math graduates who commit to becoming math teachers at grade levels 6-12 in local high-need schools for three years. The scholarship package that is offered to each candidate is valued at approximately $30,000. In order to attract students to the Noyce Scholarship program, PTM provides a semester-long internship for potential Noyce Scholars each fall semester. Recruitment efforts focus mainly on undergraduate math and engineering majors, with the goal of recruiting these students to teach math at the secondary level upon graduation. This design allows participants to explore “the feel” of these environments in an authentic context to better inform their subsequent decision to pursue a career in education. Students are paid a total of $2,000 for their internship experience. Participants must complete the internship and satisfy all academic prerequisites for admission to the PTM program.
Overall the scholars were satisfied with the training they received, and all of the scholars indicated that they had improved their knowledge of inquiry-based learning and instruction and had more content knowledge than when they entered the program. A theme that was apparent throughout their replies was that the required pre-residency experience assisted them in making the decision to become math teachers or solidified their decision to become math teachers. In addition, the scholars also found it very helpful to matriculate through the program as a cohort and not as individuals as each provided support for one another. In reflecting back on ways to improve the program the scholars indicated that some of the training activities that they participated in late in the year would have been more helpful earlier in their experience but all students who have graduate felt that they were prepared to extremely prepared to enter the teaching profession.
This study explored factors of the Noyce Pathway to Mathematics program. Those factors were the recruitment of high quality students, the process of preparing those students in a graduate initial certification Math education program, and their true preparedness to transition from student to teacher from their own perspective. The educational importance of this program is its aim to increase the supply of qualified Math teachers for the local school system and other partner school districts in rural southwest Alabama as the lack of certified Math teachers is a major cause of poor achievement and low expectations for high-risk students. Identifying factors of how to better prepare Math teachers for the rigors of the teaching profession was the purpose of this study.