Elementary Mathematics Add-On Licensure

In November 2009, the North Carolina State Board Of Education approved an Elementary Mathematics Add-on License (EMAoL) for teachers holding an Elementary Education license. This licensure is a coordinated effort between the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, the University of North Carolina System (UNCGA), with statewide LEA representation, and university faculty representation from colleges of education and arts and science. A UNCGA task force, including sixteen faculty members from eight universities and three K-5 mathematics specialists, designed, developed, and implemented an online graduate-level program of study (six courses) focused on the mathematical knowledge needed for successfully teaching mathematics at the elementary level.

The Elementary Mathematics Add-On Licensure courses may apply to other master's degree programs. Please consult the respective program coordinator to determine which courses will count toward the program of study. Courses at UNCW which contribute to the math add-on license are delivered through a blend of online experiences (both synchronous and asynchronous).

Each of the six courses in the EMAoL Program of Study is distinguished by a focus on a high-leverage teaching practice, a primary area of mathematics necessary for successfully teaching elementary school mathematics and a secondary area of mathematical content. The primary content area provides the context for exemplifying the high-leverage teaching practice. The secondary content area demonstrates the transfer of the high-leverage teaching practice to other content strands. For example, understanding and applying knowledge of learning trajectories is not limited to the development of rational numbers and their operations, but can be applied equally well to other areas of mathematics, such as measurement.

High-Leverage Mathematics
Teaching Practices

Mathematical Content

Selecting, Designing, and Using Mathematical Tasks

Primary (80%): Whole Number Place Value & Operations
Secondary (20%): Number Theory and Rational Numbers

Understanding and Applying Knowledge of Learning Trajectories

Primary (80%): Rational Numbers and Operations
Secondary (20%): Measurement

Orchestrating Classroom Interactions

Primary (60%): Measurement
Secondary (40%): Data Analysis

Fostering Reasoning through Discourse and Questioning

Primary (80%): Algebraic Reasoning
Secondary (20%): Number Systems & Operations

Assessing Student Knowledge (Diagnosis and Intervention)

Primary (80%): Spatial Orientation And Visualization
Secondary (20%): Early Number Concepts

Helping Teachers Develop as School-based Leaders

Primary (80%): Mathematical Modeling
Secondary (20%): Connecting, Relearning, and Integrating Content


  • Include graduate level expectations & accountability that balance direct instruction with project-oriented teaching methods
  • Stress mathematical content needed to support the teaching of elementary mathematics, illustrating how a deeper understanding of subject matter can actually enhance problem solving, critical thinking, and other 21st century skills. Mathematical content strands include: number systems and operations; rational numbers and operations; spatial orientation and visualization; measurement and data analysis; fostering the development of algebraic reasoning including patterns structure, conjecture, generalizations and proof; and algebraic operations as generalized arithmetic. Courses stress the mathematical connections and representations across content strands.
  • Provide connections to practice, the NC Standard Course of Study and the Common Core Standards with a focus on a thorough development of basic mathematical ideas and skills, with an emphasis on understanding the sequential nature of mathematics and the mathematical structures inherent in the content strands.
  • Balance the needs of K-2 and 3-5 teachers with links to the mathematics content and skills students need to successfully learn middle grades mathematics.
  • Enable 21st century professional learning communities for teachers that models the kinds of classroom learning that best promotes 21st century skills for students
  • Cultivate teachers' ability to identify students' particular learning styles, intelligences, strengths and weaknesses
  • Help teachers develop their abilities to use various strategies (such as formative assessments) to reach diverse students and to create environments that support differentiated teaching and learning
  • Encourage knowledge sharing among communities of practitioners, using face-to-face, virtual and blended communications
  • Support the use of technology to improve teaching and learning mathematics.

For additional information on getting started in the program, please contact Dr. Shelby Morge (morges@uncw.edu or 910-962-7501).