Friday, June 6, 2008

Teacher testing is necessary

If you have not seen Flypaper over at Fordham – they have a lot of posts on their blog. They had a recent post about a study that will appear soon that says that teacher testing deters good people from becoming teachers. I posted the following response on their blog:

I am very curious as to how they came to this conclusion that the test is the barrier that keeps potentially great teachers from teaching. I can honestly say that after seeing 6,000 people start our program and less than 40% actually complete, that our test is absolutely necessary. This is because many of those potential teachers “whose educational backgrounds qualify them to teach” cannot compose a coherent essay and don’t have the most basic knowledge of their subject matter.

I wholeheartedly agree that a test with a passing rate of 95-99% is a useless waste of time and money. If every university had a minimum standard for graduation that meant that every teacher would have outstanding writing skills and subject matter mastery, we would be the first to push for the elimination of teacher testing. But we are nowhere near those kinds of results. The essays we see from college graduates are nothing short of dismal.

And many of the people going through our program would much rather take a test then sit through countless hours of useless classes.

The McKinseystudy of the best school systems in the world found that selectivity of teachers was a key driver of their success. We have to select the best teachers with tests that truly measure ability to very rigorous standards, like the American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence exams, in order to compete in the world market.

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