From the NCSM President
Diane J. Briars
Spring 2010

New and Noteworthy

By now, you should have received the latest paper in NCSM's Student Achievement Series, Improving Student Achievement by Addressing the Needs of English Language Learners. This position paper describes the actions mathematics education leaders should take to meet the needs of ELL students, along with a summary of the research that supports our position. This paper, as are all the papers in the series, is designed to be a professional development tool for both preservice and inservice teachers, as well as a political document to advocate for, justify, and/or support research-informed strategies, programs, and/or policies. All six NCSM position papers are available on our Website,

The Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators (AMTE) just released Standards for Elementary Mathematics Specialists: A Reference for Teacher Credentialing and Degree Programs, which describes the particular knowledge, skills, and dispositions needed by elementary mathematics specialists (EMS)- teachers, teacher leaders, or coaches who are responsible for supporting effective mathematics instruction and student learning in grades K-6. While its primary audience is those responsible for state-level certification guidelines and teacher education programs, the document contains useful information for all of us who either are EMS or who design and implement programs to support them. The standards specify the mathematics and pedagogical content knowledge that EMS need, so are useful guides for inservice planning, especially for the design of a long-term professional development effort. They can also be useful in establishing criteria for EMS positions when formal state-level certification is not in place. In addition, the introduction succinctly makes the case for EMS, summarizes the evidence of the impact of EMS on student achievement, and provides a list of references. Currently nine states-Arizona, California, Georgia, Michigan, Ohio, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, and Virginia-offer professional EMS designations. A copy of the standards is posted on the AMTE website,

In a complementary effort, at its December 2009 meeting, the Conference Board for the Mathematical Sciences (CBMS) authorized the update of the 2001 Mathematics Education of Teachers (MET) report to reflect the changes in mathematics, the K-12 mathematics curriculum, and research on teacher content knowledge during the past decade. The updated report also will be extended to include recommendations for the continued mathematics learning of inservice teachers. Drafts for review and comment are anticipated to be available some time this fall.

In light of the MET revision, the 3rd Annual CBMS National Forum, to be held this fall (exact dates to be announced) in Washington, DC, will focus on content-based professional development of inservice teachers. In January, CBMS released a white paper of recommendations from their 2nd Annual National Forum on Content and Assessment of School Mathematics held in October 2009. Copies of the white paper are available at the CBMS website, CBMS_Forum_White_Paper.pdf.

Work on the National Governors Association/Council of Chief State School Officers Common Core State Standards (CCSS) Initiative is continuing. Drafts of the K-8 grade level and high school standards have been released to states for their review, with a draft for public release and comment planned during February. Although the K-8 standards will be organized by grade, the high school standards are organized according to the College and Career Readiness Standards, e.g., Number, Expressions, Equations, and so on, instead of being organized by grade and/or courses.

To help states and districts design courses around the new high school standards, Achieve is planning to release Model Mathematics Course Pathways that will provide examples of how the high school standards might be organized into both integrated and traditional course sequences.

NCSM, along with NCTM and other mathematics education organizations, has been actively involved in providing feedback during the standards writing process; we are also providing input and feedback to the development of the Model Mathematics Course Pathways.

Last, but more certainly not least, please join us April 19-21 in San Diego for the 42nd Annual NCSM Conference. You'll have the opportunity to get the latest information on a number of topics, including the CCSS initiative, as well as network around issues such as EMS, the MET revision, and future NCSM position papers with national colleagues. Check out the complete program on our Website, See you there!

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