Program earns national recognition for robust requirements in key elementary mathematics content and pedagogy
Lipscomb University’s undergraduate elementary teacher preparation program has been named among the best in the nation when it comes to ensuring future elementary teachers have the essential content and skills they need to teach mathematics.
The National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ), a national research and policy organization that regularly evaluates the core requirements and practices of over 1,100 programs that prepare future elementary teachers released a new report today in which the undergraduate program at Lipscomb University earned an A for its requirements in elementary mathematics. Lipscomb is the only university in Tennessee to receive an A on preparing elementary math teachers. Read the full report here.
NCTQ evaluated programs for their coverage of both the key mathematics content that elementary teachers need: Numbers and Operations, Algebraic Thinking, Geometry and Measurement, and Data Analysis and Probability, as well as how to teach those concepts (Math Pedagogy). The recommended minimum instructional time that future elementary teachers need in these essential math topics was set based on guidance NCTQ received from teacher preparation programs, mathematicians, and math educators as part of an Expert Panel. Lipscomb University stands apart by meeting 90% or more of the instructional goals across each of the elementary mathematics topic areas.
“We are very proud of the quality work that our education and math faculty have done in collaboration with each other to deserve this national recognition,” said Trace Hebert, interim dean of Lipscomb’s College of Education. “It is very satisfying to see the work of Lipscomb’s College of Education receiving this kind of validation at the national level year after year.”
“In recent years, NCTQ has recognized our success multiple times, as has other organizations such as CAEP and AILACTE. It is very satisfying to see the continuity of success across time and this speaks to the caliber of education faculty, programming, and students,” continued Hebert. “Despite the challenges being faced in the education community, we are looking forward to continuing to serve and make a difference in education, teacher and leader preparation into the foreseeable future.”
College of Education Interim Associate Dean and Director of Accreditation, Assessment and Research Megan Parker Peters said the recognition reflects “on-going collaboration between the College of Education and the Mathematics department.”
“We have worked together to evaluate and enhance the curriculum for our teaching candidates to ensure that they are best prepared to provide high-quality mathematics instruction to P-12 learners,” explained Parker Peters. “Our college’s faculty strives to be and give their best each day while preparing tomorrow’s educators. Their dedication to high-quality preparation is reflected here.”
According to NCTQ, research studies have found that elementary math skills are a strong predictor of whether or not a student will graduate from high school. Recent data has found that students in many states have lost more learning in math than in reading over the past two years and pre-existing gaps in math achievement have worsened since 2020 between low-poverty and high-poverty schools and between majority-White and majority-Black schools, so the need for elementary teachers to be well-prepared to teach mathematics has never been more urgent.
“We know how much math matters in setting a foundation for students,” said Heather Peske, NCTQ President. “The biggest in-school difference we can make for students’ math learning is to make sure their elementary teachers understand key math content and know how to teach math effectively. Lipscomb University should be proud to be among the top teacher preparation programs in the country working towards this goal.”
Lipscomb University’s College of Education is consistently recognized as one of the most effective teacher preparation programs in Tennessee and in the nation. Last fall, the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) announced that Lipscomb University is one of 26 providers from 17 states and the United Arab Emirates to be recognized for quality and excellence as recipients of the 2021 Frank Murray Leadership Recognition for Continuous Improvement. Lipscomb once again earned high marks on the 2021 Teacher Preparation Report Card released earlier this year. This marked the 10th year that state data on the effectiveness of new Tennessee teachers indicates it is one of the most effective teacher preparation programs in the state.
In addition, Lipscomb has developed a number of Grow Your Own (GYO) partnerships to help increase access and remove barriers to the teaching profession, fill shortages in critical subject areas, increase the diversity of the teacher workforce and develop and retain teachers from the local community. Last month, university officials announced the Leading and Innovating for Future Teachers (LIFT) program through which Lipscomb will provide full tuition and fees for a cohort of 10 Metro Nashville Public Schools students every year to enter the teacher preparation program beginning in Fall 2023. Beginning this fall, Lipscomb is offering a new Christian Schools Partnership, designed to fill teacher shortages and preparation gaps in K-12 Christian schools. Last summer, the university was awarded $1 million in Tennessee Department of Education GYO grants to provide 10 cohorts of teacher assistants, totaling 210 individuals from MNPS, Clarksville-Montgomery County School District and the Hamilton County and Williamson County school districts the opportunity to enroll in Lipscomb’s teacher preparation programs. In addition, Lipscomb’s College of Education is partnering with the Nashville Teacher Residency on another GYO grant to prepare teachers for their ELL endorsement. In October 2020, Lipscomb received $200,000 in TDOE grants to expand its existing GYO partnership with CMCSS, which began in 2019. Also, Lipscomb, funded by a private grant, launched the Pionero Scholars Program in 2015 to bridge the culture gap between students and teachers by recruiting MNPS students who want to go into the teaching field and who reflect the diversity of Nashville to create a pipeline of students returning to teach in their home communities.
In 2019, the College of Education was also awarded a $2.49 million grant from the Kern Family Foundation to develop an innovative leadership development program for principals focused on character, academic excellence and business acumen in the rising generation of leaders. Since 2013, the National Council for Teacher Quality has consistently ranked Lipscomb’s College of Education programs among the top in the nation, ranking them as high as No. 1 nationally in 2014.