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Improving State Need Assessments of Secondary Science and Mathematics Teachers: Challenges, Possibilities, and Recommendations

Abstract

Accompanying the growing call of our nation's political, business, and education leaders to strengthen the science and mathematics skills of our nation's children is the recognition that this will not be possible unless we have a sufficient number of well-qualified and effective K-12 science and mathematics teachers. In response, state and university leaders are making commitments to increase significantly the number of science and mathematics teachers they produce, particularly at the secondary level. Few, however, have made these commitments on the basis of a careful assessment of the adequacy of the current science and mathematics teacher workforce.

It is precisely the goal of this report to help state and university leaders develop better assessments of the need for secondary school science and mathematics teachers. The report is part of a larger effort by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities - the Science and Mathematics Teacher Imperative (SMTI) - to support the efforts of its member institutions to strengthen science and mathematics teacher preparation. Especially in an era of declining state resources and retrenched university budgets, a thorough and reliable assessment of the need for science and mathematics teachers is imperative if states and institutions are to respond appropriately and cost-effectively.

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