|Action||Comprehensive Revision of the Regulations Governing the Review and Approval of Education Programs in|
|Comment Period||Ends 10/31/2015|
Elementary and Middle School Mathematics Specialist Endorsements
We are responding to the proposed changes in the Mathematics specialist program requirements for the elementary and middle school mathematics specialists. We are commenting as program coordinators and professors for Longwood University’s Master of Science in Education – Elementary and Middle School Mathematics and Master of Science in Education – Algebra and Middle School Mathematics.
We support the decision to separate the elementary and middle school mathematics specialist endorsements. This change recognizes the need for program coursework that is more tailored to the content and pedagogy necessary for mathematics specialists to meet the needs of elementary and middle school students and teachers. However, the program requirements as written are not different for the elementary and middle school specialist programs with the exception of the technologies mentioned in B.7. While we believe there should be some overlap in the program requirements of these two programs we do not think they represent distinctively different programs as currently written. For example, the elementary school specialist would benefit from a curriculum that included more focus on lower elementary (Prek-1) foundational knowledge while middle school specialists would benefit from curriculum that extends into high school concepts taught in many middle schools. As currently written, the pre-requirement of secondary licensure and the technologies mentioned are the only differences in the requirements for these two programs. We feel teachers and students would benefit from program mathematics requirements that differ for the programs and include these differences in B2. As written, a person with an initial secondary mathematics licensure could obtain both certifications with the same course work while a person without that initial license would complete the same course work but earn a different license. This is very atypical as usually the purpose of having different programs is that the coursework in those programs is also different.
Additionally, we also feel the language in part B of both the elementary and middle mathematics specialists requirements currently reads as if the program consists of a three-year period where the specialists are teaching and they are demonstrating competencies through this teaching. This language is similar to the previous language for the elementary mathematics specialist but needs revising.
Current version: “The mathematics specialist program shall ensure that the candidate has completed at least three years of successful classroom teaching experience in which the teaching of mathematics was an important responsibility and demonstrated the following competencies:”
We recommend: “The mathematics specialist program shall ensure the candidate has completed at least three years of successful classroom teaching experience in which the teaching of mathematics was an important responsibility and ensures the candidate has demonstrated the following competencies: “
We appreciate the opportunity to comment and the Virginia Board of Education’s consideration of our positions.