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ERIC Number: ED509001
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Sep-5
Pages: 20
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 26
Teacher Licensure Tests: Their Relationship to Mathematics Teachers' Academic Competence and Student Achievement in Mathematics
Stotsky, Sandra
Education Working Paper Archive
Many educators choose to believe that learning to read and write is as natural as learning to listen and speak, even though scientifically based research does not support their belief. However, most educators (as well as the public) believe that most students must be taught mathematics to learn it. Moreover, there is a body of research evidence that attests to the positive relationship between students' mathematics achievement and their teachers' mathematics knowledge. Teachers who know more mathematics than their peers have students who learn more mathematics than their peers. Thus, state and federal officials, as well as the general public, are rightly concerned about the academic qualifications of those who teach mathematics (and science) in the public schools, especially since there has been a steady decline for decades in the number of mathematics and science majors or minors choosing secondary school teaching careers. There has also been a steady decline in the number of high-achieving women seeking to become elementary teachers or teachers of other subjects. About two decades ago, in an effort to ensure that their teachers had an adequate grasp of the field of their license before they began teaching, states began to require the passing of a subject matter licensure test for entry into the profession. Licensure tests--typically tests assessing the basic substantive knowledge needed for professional practice--are the major objective measure of quality control used by most professions for entry into the profession. By default, licensure tests have determined what new teachers in elementary, middle, and high school need to know in mathematics in order to teach the subject. They have also influenced how new teachers taught mathematics if they or other required tests contained pedagogical items. However, people lack a critical summary of the research on the content, value, and uses of teacher licensure tests. A small but growing number of studies have examined the content or value of teacher licensure tests and their relationship to student achievement. The purpose of this paper is to indicate what can be learned from these studies, especially those that examine the content or use of teacher tests assessing mathematics knowledge, and to highlight a number of questions that warrant research if these tests are to serve the same function that licensure tests serve other professions. Three appendices are included: (1) Topics for the Elementary, Middle, and High School Mathematics Licensure Tests in Massachusetts; (2) Pass Scores by Test Administration from May 2005-May 2006 on Three Mathematics Tests for Teacher Licensure in Massachusetts; and (3) License-Specific Evaluation Questions for Prospective Mathematics Teachers in Massachusetts. (Contains 1 footnote.)
Education Working Paper Archive. Department of Education Reform, University of Arkansas, 201 Graduate Education Building, Fayetteville, AR 72701. Tel: 479-575-3172; Fax: 479-575-3196; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: University of Arkansas, Education Working Paper Archive
Identifiers - Location: Massachusetts; New York; North Carolina; Pennsylvania; Tennessee