Winthrop University: Winthrop University Program Among Top in Country for Preparing Future Math Elementary Teachers
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Winthrop University Program Among Top in Country for Preparing Future Math Elementary Teachers

June 02, 2022

HIGHLIGHTS

  • In a recent report, Winthrop’s undergraduate program earned an A+ designation for its requirements in elementary mathematics. 
  • It is among only 79 programs in the nation and one of three in South Carolina to earn this distinction. 

ROCK HILL, SOUTH CAROLINA – The undergraduate elementary teacher preparation program at Winthrop University 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) is a national research and policy organization that regularly evaluates the core requirements and practices of more than 1,100 programs that prepare future elementary teachers. In a recent report, Winthrop’s undergraduate program earned an A+ designation for its requirements in elementary mathematics. It is among only 79 programs in the nation and one of three in South Carolina to earn this distinction as an “exemplar” in the new report. 

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, known as 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 through an expert panel.  

Winthrop University stands apart by meeting 100% of the instructional goals across each of the elementary mathematics topic areas.

Beth Greene Costner, dean of the Richard W. Riley College of Education, said she is proud of the partnership that exists between the college and the Department of Mathematics. “Winthrop started as a college to prepare teachers, and we have held steady to that mission for more than a century,” she said. “An earmark of the college is partnerships around content and pedagogy that include on-campus departments and area school districts where we work collaboratively to ensure our teacher candidates are gaining the knowledge, skills, and experience for success as teachers.” 

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. Winthrop University should be proud to be among the top teacher preparation programs in the country working towards this goal.” 

See the full NCTQ report to learn more about how Winthrop University earned this top score, all scores for elementary teacher preparation programs in South Carolina, and the full national findings.

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Last Updated: 7/13/22