Hiring teachers with the right qualifications can mean all the difference when working to ensure every student has an opportunity to succeed, especially in classes like Algebra I. That’s why the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (MO DESE) partnered with REL Central at Marzano Research to conduct a study looking for clues to what qualifications school administrators can look for when staffing middle school Algebra I classrooms.
MO DESE district leaders, like others across the country, are increasingly offering Algebra I in 8th grade in order to provide students with earlier access to a range of higher math classes for which Algebra I is a prerequisite. But for students to take advantage of those higher-level classes it is important that they succeed in Algebra I—and that can have a lot to do with the teacher’s qualifications.
Study investigators reported three findings that can help administrators in their hiring decisions.
Those findings were that:
Student success in Algebra I was associated with the amount of time a teacher had taught math;
Student success was associated with scores on certification exams to teach math, such as the Praxis II Middle School Mathematics exam; and
Teachers experience in subject areas other than math was not associated with student performance.
While the study was conducted for Missouri, the results are applicable for administrators and policy makers in other states.
We hope that education administrators are able to use these findings when assigning teachers to Algebra I courses. We also believe they could be used by schools in providing professional development trainings for teachers or by colleges as they develop teacher prep class curriculum.
Learn more about the findings in the REL Central and Marzano Research Report Associations Between the Qualifications of Middle School Algebra I Teachers and Student Math Achievement or watch the full webinar and short video clips below.