Math Major: Elementary Emphasis

Elementary Math Teacher Certification Transition (2021-2026)

We are no longer admitting students in the Elementary Math Major, which existed through the 2020-21 catalog. Current students using a catalog year of 20-21 or earlier may continue their program and will be certified to teach elementary grades K-8 (all subjects) as well as middle school mathematics classes. However, students enrolled in the Elementary Math Major must complete their entire program of study and pass the MTTC K-8 certification tests by July 2026.

Michigan Changes Grade Band Certifications for Elementary Teaching:

The Michigan Department of Education (MDE) recently changed the certification structures for elementary teachers in Michigan. Before Fall 2021, elementary teacher education programs in Michigan led to certification to teach grades K-8 (all subjects). At GVSU, students seeking elementary (K-8) certification had the option to complete a major in one of four content majors: Math, English, Social Studies, or Integrated Science. The content major led to subject area certification in a middle school setting.

Michigan’s new grade band structure leads instead to certification in grades PK-3 or 3-6, and teachers can also pursue both grade bands and be certified PK-6. Starting Fall 2021, the GVSU major corresponding to the new PK-3 and 3-6 grade bands is titled "Pedagogical Content Knowledge for Elementary Teaching" or PCKET. As of Fall 2021, incoming students seeking elementary certification should visit the PCKET (Pedagogical Content Knowledge for Elementary Teaching) website for more information on the new paths to elementary certification that include a concentration in mathematics.

Should I keep my math major, elementary teaching emphasis or switch to PCKET?

Current Math majors who have declared the Elementary Teacher Certification emphasis prior to Fall 2021 do not need to switch to PCKET. In fact, doing so will increase time to graduation for most students because the PCKET program includes a very different suite of courses than the existing program. Those majors do need to complete their entire program of study and pass their MTTC K-8 certification tests by July of 2026, which is the latest the Michigan Department of Education has indicated it will be offering the required MTTC K-8 certification tests.

If you have an existing Math - Elementary Education major, there are several benefits to seeing it through to graduation: you will be one of the last graduates in Michigan with a flexible K-8 certification AND a bachelor’s degree in your content area, which together will increase your marketability because of the wider grade range you can teach and because your content area expertise will set you up to be a leader in mathematics instruction at your future school. Having a math major will also give you the flexibility to explore other career options.

However, there are some steps current majors should take to ensure a smooth transition. Please see the April 2021 advising email update that was sent to current Elementary Math majors in Winter 2021 for details.