Home » An Answer to Today’s Math Teacher Preparation Problem

It’s been well documented that math performance among K-12 students in the United States declined precipitously during the pandemic and has yet to fully recover. Yes, COVID-19 and distance learning certainly played a role in the drop-off of math scores across the country.

But it also exacerbated a pressing issue that districts were already facing—the fact that many teachers who instruct math (especially new educators) do not receive the training they need to feel fully comfortable teaching all math topics, particularly those focusing on geometry and data concepts such as statistics. The pandemic made it that much more difficult for schools to make any progress in this area.

The Data Behind the Problem

EducationWeek conducted two national surveys—one in November 2022, the other in April 2023—among K-12 math educators. The results concluded that many of these teachers lacked sufficient professional development in either the content they were teaching, or the proper instructional approaches related to certain math topics.

A common sentiment was that many teachers were not comfortable teaching certain math topics because they did not learn them in their preparation programs. This leaves teachers unprepared and unsure of what they need to teach in their classes and how to teach it. And that certainly does not bode well for students.

When surveyed on their preparation for instructing math, teachers who spend at least part of their day teaching math responded with the following¹:

  • 78% said they completed an undergraduate or graduate degree that led to their licensure
  • 12% said they received a license endorsement by taking math courses and/or passing an exam, but didn’t initially train to be a math teacher
  • 6% completed an alternative program through a college/university to receive their license
  • 5% completed an alternative program not through a college/university to receive their license

Clearly, there is a gap in what math teachers are learning in preparation to teach students versus what math teachers should be learning in preparation to teach students.

Fortunately, there is a solution.

Catapult Learning’s New Teacher Math & Essentials Professional Development

One of the critical keys to improving math instruction is providing teachers with the right professional development at the beginning of their careers. That’s where Catapult Learning’s New Teacher Math & Essentials PD package stands apart from other PD offerings.

When professional learning is exclusively designed for new educators, it becomes even more useful and effective. Designed specifically for new math educators, our PD package was created through a partnership with Praxis, the world’s largest, private educational and workforce research and measurement organization. This comprehensive PD offering is powered by Praxis math data and research on new educator subject matter understanding and core competencies that address key areas of need for new teachers.

Our New Teacher Math & Essentials package:

  • Is designed exclusively for new educators, paraprofessionals, and emergency certified teachers.
  • Features instructor-led workshops on Key Math Concepts and Practical Application, Classroom Management, & more.
  • Comes with our asynchronous PDNowplatform to reinforce educator development through over 10 hours of online courses.

By designing this PD to directly address priority areas for new and aspiring educators, the learning enables them to strengthen classroom instruction with a focus on math and core competencies.

With student math scores continuing to decline, now is the time to properly prepare math teachers—especially those just starting their careers—with the relevant skills they need to effectively instruct math in the classroom. With Catapult’s New Teacher Math & Essentials PD package, your new math teachers can step into their classrooms with confidence on day 1 knowing they’re ready to deliver the math knowledge their students need to shift the math performance trend in a positive direction.

For more information about our Praxis New Teacher PD offering, visit https://catapultlearning.com/programs/praxis/.

¹SOURCE: EdWeek Research Center survey, April 2023