To become a mathematics teacher in Alaska, you must complete the following steps:
The Alaska Board of Education and Early Development has developed a clear and comprehensive set of mathematics standards that are designed to prepare the students of Alaska to compete on both a national and international scale. The standards were designed to include a number of rigorous expectations, which build students’ conceptual understanding, mathematical language, and the application of processes and procedures so as to allow them to seamlessly transition from one grade to the next.
To meet content and performance standards in Alaska, students should be able to:
- Understand mathematical facts, concepts, principles, and theories
- Understand, select, and use a variety of problem-solving strategies
- Understand and use appropriate methods to define and explain mathematical relationships
- Use logic and reason to solve mathematical problems
- Apply mathematical concepts and processes to situations inside and outside of schools
Step 1. Complete a Bachelor’s Degree and an Approved Teacher Education Program
The first step toward preparing to become a math teacher in Alaska is to complete a bachelor’s degree program from a regionally accredited college or university.
You may simplify the certification process by completing an Approved Teacher Education Program recognized by the Alaska Board of Education and Early Development. These are blended programs that combine the required undergraduate education and all components necessary for certification, including a student teaching experience.
Three of the four approved teacher education programs in Alaska offer bachelor, post-baccalaureate and master’s degrees in secondary mathematics.
You may also qualify for certification from the Alaska Department of Education and Early Development through a state recommendation if you have completed a state-approved teacher preparation program for certification in another state.
Step 2. Complete an Approved Basic Competency Examination
Before you can qualify for certification as a mathematics teacher in Alaska, you must complete a basic competency examination (reading, writing, and mathematics). There are a number of examinations that meet the basic competency requirement:
- Washington Educator Skills Test (WEST-B)
- PRAXIS I Academic Skills for Educators (Replaced the PRAXIS I, as of July 2014)
- Oklahoma General Education Test
- New York State Teacher Certification, Liberal Arts and Science Test
- New Mexico Assessment of Teacher Basic Skills
- Michigan Test for Teacher Certification
- Illinois Certification Testing System
- Georgia Assessment for the Certification of Educators
- Florida Teacher Certification Examination – General Knowledge:
- California Basic Educational Skills Test (CBEST)
- Alabama Work Keys
Step 3. Apply for an Initial and Second Teacher Certificate
Upon earning a bachelor’s degree and meeting competency exam requirements, you may apply for initial certification in Alaska.
Along with the completion of a Teacher Certification Application for Initial Certification, you must submit an institutional recommendation, your official college transcripts, and a completed fingerprint card to the Department of Education and Early Development.
Due to the number of routes to teacher certification in Alaska, you may qualify for one of the following teacher certificates:
- Initial Two-Year Teacher Certificate: To qualify for the initial two-year teacher certificate, you must have completed an approved teacher preparation program through an institutional recommendation or a state recommendation
- Initial Three-Year Teacher Certificate: To qualify for the initial three-year teacher certificate, you must have completed an approved teacher preparation program through an institutional recommendation or a state recommendation and have completed:
You may also qualify for an initial, one-year teacher certification if you have achieved a passing score on an approved basic competency examination and you are currently enrolled in an approved teacher preparation program.
Your initial certificate is good for two years.
Upon expiration of your initial teacher certificate, you must apply for a Second Initial Teacher Certificate.
Note: If you qualified for an initial three-year certificate, you will have already completed the above coursework.
You must also complete at least 6 semester hours of coursework in the 5 years prior to your application.
Step 4. Apply for a Professional Teacher Certificate
Upon expiration of your Second Initial Teacher Certificate, you may qualify for a Professional Teacher Certificate if you have completed:
- Two years of teaching on a valid teaching certificate
- Six semester hours of college coursework in the last five years
A Professional Teacher Certificate also requires the successful completion of a PRAXIS II content area examination in one of the following, depending on the grade level you are teaching:
- Elementary Education, Content Knowledge (minimum passing score: 143)
- Elementary Education, Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment (minimum passing score: 156)
- Middle School Mathematics (minimum passing score: 165)
- Secondary Mathematics: Content Knowledge (minimum passing score: 160)
The PRAXIS examination in Middle School Mathematics consists of 40 questions and 3 short, constructed response questions that are divided as follows:
- Arithmetic and basic algebra: 20 percent
- Data, probability, and statistical concepts; discrete mathematics: 17 percent
- Functions and their graphs: 13 percent
- Geometry and measurement: 17 percent
- Problem-solving exercises (3 constructed response questions): 33 percent
The PRAXIS examination in Secondary Mathematics, Content Knowledge consists of 50 questions that are divided as follows:
- Algebra and number theory: 16 percent
- Data analysis and statistics probability: 14-18 percent
- Functions and calculus: 28 percent
- Matrix algebra and discrete mathematics: 14-18 percent
- Measurement, geometry and trigonometry: 24 percent
Process categories of the examination include:
- Use of technology
- Mathematical representation
- Mathematical reasoning and proof
- Mathematical problem solving
- Mathematical connections
Step 5. Maintain your Professional Teacher Certificate
To maintain your Professional Teacher Certificate, which is valid for 5 years, you must successfully complete at least 6 semester hours of college credits, with at least 3 hours of credit being upper division or graduate credits. You must also verify that you are employed as a mathematics teacher in an Alaska public school district.
All teaching certificate renewals in Alaska are completed through the Alaska Department of Education and Early Development Certificate Renewal online system.
You can find a wealth of professional development opportunities through state and national mathematics associations, such as:
- Alaska Council of Teachers of Mathematics
- National Council of Teachers of Mathematics
- Mathematical Association of America
Alaska’s Mathematical Standards
The organization of Alaska’s mathematical standards is designed to define what students should be able to do in their study of mathematics. The standards are divided into two areas of equal importance:
- Standards for Mathematical Practice
- Standards for Mathematical Content
The Standards for Mathematical Practice describe the expertise that math teachers should seek to develop in all their students. These practices, which focus on important “processes and proficiencies,” include:
- Attend to precision
- Construct arguments
- Identify regularity in repeated reasoning
- Identify and make use of structure
- Make sense of problems and preserve in solving them
- Model with mathematics
- Reason abstractly and quantitatively
- Use appropriate tools in a strategic manner
The Standards for Mathematical Content for Alaska’s K-8 standards include eleven domains through which students advance along with each year’s grade-specific standards:
- Counting and Cardinality
- Expressions and Equations
- Measurement and Data
- Number and Operations, Fractions
- Number of Operations in Base Ten
- Operations and Algebraic Thinking
- Ratios and Proportional Relationships
- Statistics and Probability
- The Number System
The Standards for Mathematical Content for high school include the following conceptual categories:
- Number and Quantity
- Statistics and Probability