Thursday, November 13, 2008

Hopping over the low bar

Ed Sector has some great discussion on teacher certification and is using the graph from the Brookings Institution study of LAUSD teachers. The study showed almost no performance difference between alternatively certified teachers, teachers certified through standard routes and teachers with no certification. This is mainly due to the wide variation in teacher performance in all three groups.

The main issue is that there is no selectivity in the current teacher certification process in most states so of course they come out no better than teachers with no certification. The current process is just a matter of completing a series of tasks. It is rare to fail these programs and rarer still to fail the teacher certification test so the certification does not actually do anything for the teachers.

When the bar is low – everyone can jump over. And if everyone can jump over, it is just the same as having no bar at all. Therefore, these results are not surprising to anyone who works in certification.

Our pass rate is less than 35% through the ABCTE program. We have a very high bar so that only the best can make it into the classroom. Mathematica will have the first indication on student achievement on our teachers this winter. Based upon some of the other studies, the higher bar should give us better results.

No comments: