Archived News | Return to News Center

July 1, 2008

ULM program in top 10 nationally to produce qualified mathematics teachers

The University of Louisiana at Monroe Elementary Education Program is one of only 10 in the nation to receive full passing marks for its preparation of future mathematics teachers.

A new study, released Friday by the National Council on Teacher Quality, looked at 77 elementary education programs from all states but Alaska, examining the mathematics courses that elementary teacher candidates had to take.

Only 10 of the 77 programs scored adequately on all three criteria, according to the report, “No Common Denominator: The Preparation of Elementary Teachers in Mathematics by America’s Education Schools.” They are the University of Louisiana at Monroe, the University of Georgia, Boston College, Indiana University at Bloomington, Lourdes College, University of Maryland at College Park, University of Michigan, University of Montana, University of New Mexico, and Western Oregon University.

ULM President James Cofer said, “We are very pleased that the National Council on Teacher Quality recognized the ULM Elementary Education Program for its excellence and caliber of instruction. Both the Department of Curriculum and Instruction and the Department of Mathematics long ago foresaw the need to fortify existing programs, keenly understanding the absolute necessity of superior mathematics instruction for our nation’s children. We are proud that their valuable work has received such acclaim.”

The College of Education and Human Development and the College of Arts and Sciences mathematics faculty collaborated to develop a sequence of mathematics courses totaling 15 credit hours for elementary education majors. The sequence of courses includes one general mathematics course and four mathematics courses designed specifically for elementary education teachers, according to Dr. Beverly Flowers-Gibson, associate dean for the ULM Department of Curriculum and Instruction.

“The courses for elementary education majors are aligned to state and national content and professional standards to ensure that teacher candidates have the knowledge and skills they need to effectively teach mathematics. It is exciting to receive affirmation of the value of our collaborative efforts in the report from the National Council on Teacher Quality,” Flowers-Gibson said.

According to information from James Heggen of Inside Higher Ed (, the report looked at three factors: “relevance,” the extent to which courses were relevant to what candidates would be teaching in the field; “breadth,” the degree to which essential topics are covered; and “depth,” if enough time was given to these topics.

The study attributes the inadequacy of other programs to a combination of low expectations and standards, haphazard state guidance and an absence of national consensus about what mathematics teachers should know, and the relative lack of algebra instruction in many curriculums.

All agree that it is critically important that elementary teachers gain the knowledge and skills they need to effectively teach mathematics, passing on skills necessary to allow American children to keep up with their peers around the world, and to produce a skilled workforce that can compete in today’s global economy.

For more on the National Council on Teacher Quality report, go to:

PLEASE NOTE: Some links and e-mail addresses in these archived news stories may no longer work, and some content may include events which are no longer relevent, or reference individuals and/or organizations no longer associated with ULM.