Department of Mathematics at Illinois State University

K-8 Specialization Middle School Mathematics Program

The middle school mathematics program comprises four years of undergraduate studies, including professional education studies. It has three components:

  1. a mathematics component that includes classes in mathematics topics for middle school teachers, geometry, probability and statistics, problem solving, algebra, mathematical modeling and applications, and basic concepts of calculus;
  2. a mathematics teaching component that includes classes in methods of teaching middle school mathematics and using technology to teach mathematics; and
  3. a practicum component that includes actual teaching of children in grades five through eight.

Students in this program major in the junior high/middle school education program through the Department of Curriculum and Instruction. In addition to the mathematics courses mentioned above, they must complete professional education courses in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, including courses in early adolescent psychology; reading development in the middle school; curriculum design; measurement and evaluation; and social, historical, and philosophical foundations of education.

Why this Program?

Departmentalized middle school programs are growing in number and popularity in Illinois and throughout the nation. This has created a need for preparing teachers with the knowledge and skills necessary to teach mathematics to pupils in grades five through eight.

Traditional teacher education programs fall short of preparing their graduates to be mathematics specialists at the middle school level. Educators nationwide recognize the need to offer a broader spectrum of quality mathematics teaching courses and mathematics content courses to students majoring in junior high/middle school education and to involve preservice teachers with children in the classroom.

As have many other states, Illinois recently issued new certification requirements for teachers seeking middle school mathematics positions. To meet these requirements, teachers must have more mathematics courses than were previously required. Mathematics educators throughout the nation must act now to improve the education of prospective middle school mathematics teachers. The University's mathematics department has responded to this need with its middle school mathematics program.

Also, there is a shortage of teachers qualified to teach mathematics at the middle school level. We expect that graduates of the program will be a high demand for teaching positions. Recent graduates have readily been hired wherever they have applied--in Illinois, Texas, California, Hawaii, and numerous other states.

More Information

Illinois State University
Department of Mathematics
Campus Box 4520
Normal, IL 61790-4520

Telephone: (309) 438-8781
Facsimile: (309) 438-5866


Students in the middle school mathematics program are majoring in elementary or middle level education and should contact the Department of Curriculum and Instruction in DeGarmo Hall 232 or by phone at (309) 438-5425.