Research And Reports
The National Center for Educational Statistics has released a report that documents the much-discussed decline in academic aptitude among students planning to enter the teaching profession.
The report also suggests that a much smaller percentage of the students who aspire to college plan to major in education.
The federal research agency compared the results of cognitive tests and questions about career plans given to 24,000 high-school seniors in 1972 in the National Longitudinal Study of the High School Class of 1972. It also compared them with results of similar tests and questions given to a comparable group of 28,000 seniors in 1980 under the agency's "High School and Beyond" study.
The comparison revealed that the reading and vocabulary test scores among female students planning to major in education dropped more sharply between 1972 and 1980 than did the scores of the college-bound female students in the survey in general.
For the male students surveyed, though, the difference in vocabulary- and reading-test scores between prospective education majors and others was not found to be widening.
On the vocabulary test, it had narrowed. However, males constituted less than 25 percent of the total number of prospective education majors identified in the 1980 survey.
Overall, the comparison revealed that those surveyed in 1980 who planned to go to college and major in education scored lower on reading, vocabulary, and mathematics tests than the college-bound group in general. They were also found to have lower grade-point averages in high school and to have taken fewer mathematics and science courses than those planning to major in other fields.
The nces study also found a substantial drop in the proportion of college aspirants planning to major in education.
Among the 1980 seniors who planned to go to college, 3 percent of the males and 10 percent of the females said they planned to major in education. In 1972, 6 percent of the males and 19 percent of the females surveyed expressed an intention to major in education.
Among black men, 3.9 percent said they planned to major in education in 1980, compared to 4.7 percent in 1972. Among black women, the figures were 5.6 percent and 9.3 percent, respectively.