Category Archives: Credential Information

CSET Series: Math III and OpenCourseWare

I have a personal problem where when something difficult peers over my life’s horizon, I go into denial and procrastination mode.

Leetle by leetle, I’m doing better… mainly because honestly? It makes my God happy when I try my best.

Last month, I spent one week feverishly cramming for the first of three math CSET exams (In CA, you need to take 3 subtests to earn a math teaching credential… although I don’t know why I have to get one since my multiple subject cred technically covers up through 8th grade and I doubt any 8th grader will be learning calculus no matter what’s in Common Core…).

I felt pretty despondent about it because I honestly knew very little.  No, I’m not being modest. At one point I wrote in the free response section, “Hello, I plan to teach in urban Oakland where there are very little qualified math teachers.  As you can see, I’m a creative problem solver and I am great at explaining my thinking. Please be gentle.”  Or something along those lines – basically appealing to their pathos.

Now in two weeks, I have the third subtest (CSET III for trig and calc).  Two days after, I’ll have the second subtest.  I just don’t have time to do them any time else.. although now that I think about it, if I don’t pass, I might as well have just scheduled these for later.  (20/20 hindsight).

To add to all this unmotivation is the fact that trigonometry kicked my BUTT in high school and although I loved calc, I can’t say I really remember any of it.  (Truly, a 5 on an AP Calc exam doesn’t really work 10 years later..).

BuuUUuuUUuuut…just now, I figured out the cosine of 5pi/4 by drawing a picture .. so now I feel a leeeetle better about my prospects.

I’m using Khan Academy, Barron’s AP Calc book and UCI’s Open Courseware to prep math teachers for the CSETs.  I’ll let you know which worked out the best for me later.

If you know of any other resources, let me know!

Example diagnostic problem from UCI's OCW CSET Test prep!

Example diagnostic problem from UCI’s OCW CSET Test prep!

math and science and bears, oh my!

I’ve been rethinking the purpose and direction of this blog (hence the long hiatus and a folder full of half-written posts in my drafts).  However, this is a pretty sweet piece of news, “Cal Teach Graduates First Credentialed Teacher”!

Last year California approved Cal’s math and science credentialing program, Cal Teach.  This year, they graduated its first credentialed student (who earned her credential while also working on her Astrophysics degree).

Do you know what this means, potential math and science teachers?  This means that you can graduate with a B.A and a credential!  This means you won’t need to enroll in an additional credentialing program, which saves you a year!

Not to mention, the last I checked, despite budget cuts and all, Cal is a wonderful place to work out your ideologies and challenge your presuppositions to really see what you can do and figure out why you do it.

“Science, mathematics, engineering — these are the elite core professions. And a large segment of our population has been shut out of them from the day they walk into kindergarten class,” said Mark Richards, dean of the College of Letters and Science and one of Cal Teach’s key supporters. “This is more than a matter of competitiveness for our country. It’s a matter of social justice.”

It is also a matter of economics and survival in an increasingly-technological world. The United States currently ranks 48th in the world in the quality of mathematics and science education, according to a report of the World Economic Forum. Another study by the National Assessment of Education Progress reported that less than half of U.S. students are proficient in science, with California ranking shockingly near the bottom of the 50 states.

Unlike traditional models, in which teaching content is divorced from teaching pedagogical skills, Cal Teach relies on an integrated, holistic approach. The program offers students simultaneous access to developing content knowledge and a teaching credential while also giving them valuable field experience by placing them in local urban school classrooms.

Economics, technology, integration, holistic approach, social justice – all in one excerpt?  Bingo.  I’m glad that despite difficulties with the deficit and figuring out how to truly teach, Cal is constantly reevaluating and finding ways to pinch pennies and still offer relevant paths for the future.  Proud to be a bear.