Teaching teachers to be more effective in the classroom is one of the top priorities for Radford University’s popular master’s program for high school teachers.
You read that correctly. Learning how to teach math is a popular pursuit at RU.
“In its first three years, the mathematics education master’s program has had enrollments that more than doubled our initial goals,” said Laura J. Jacobsen, coordinator for the Master of Science in mathematics education initiative. “We now have partnerships with more than 30 Virginia school divisions, with the majority of these in Southwest and Southside Virginia, and about one-third in the Richmond area. We have been thrilled with the interest, participation and support for this program.”
In the spring and summer, the program, now in its fourth year, awarded its first 14 degrees, a milestone for the only program of its kind in the commonwealth.
With the cohort of 20 teachers who began their master’s work in the current academic year, the program has watched its enrollment total jump to nearly 60.
The program, established in 2009, offers a Master of Science in education with a concentration in mathematics education. Graduates are prepared to teach not only advanced placement and dual enrollment high school math classes but also undergraduate courses at community colleges and four-year institutions.
To further understand the importance of the program, Jacobsen points to an international study showing that high school mathematics students perform best in countries where teachers typically hold master’s
degrees. RU’s program, the professor said, is designed to help licensed teachers improve mathematical
content knowledge and focus on materials addressed in the Virginia Standards of Learning.
The M.S. in math education is ideal for the practicing teacher and particularly for those interested in teaching advanced placement or dual enrollment courses, Jacobsen said. It is a 36-credit-hour program for licensed secondary school teachers and provides the 18 hours of graduate credit needed for those individuals desiring to teach mathematics at the community college or four-year-institution level.
“We are very pleased with the success of the program,” Jacobsen said, “and proud of our role in ensuring that Virginia’s high school students are prepared for success in an increasingly competitive global economy.”