Ten years ago, Kentucky leaders promised that their state's historic education reforms would improve the quality of its teaching force.
Kentucky has partially met that goal, a report from a state think tank says, but it still needs to invest in significant changes to put better teachers in the classroom. The Bluegrass State has an experienced corps of teachers who have higher education levels than the national average, according to the March 8 report by the Kentucky Long-Term Policy Research Center, a state-financed group.
Incoming teachers, on average, score at the national average on portions of the national teacher exam covering science, mathematics, and physical education. But they fall below the mean in other subjects. What's more, only 39 percent of middle school math teachers hold a college degree with a major or minor in the field.
Remedying the situation will require more than just raising teacher salaries, according to the study's author, Stephen Clements, an assistant professor of education at the University of Kentucky in Lexington.
The state should consider improving its professional-development system so it is "solidly grounded in academic content," Mr. Clements writes. The state may also want to create financial incentives for teachers who acquire "a greater variety of educational skills." he adds.
The Ohio Department of Education has invalidated the writing portion of its 4th and 6th grade proficiency tests after a newspaper printed questions from the exams.
The topic questions were included in a news story about the tests in the Xenia Daily Gazette on March 1. State officials read the article and decided it could taint the integrity of the test, said Dottie Howe, a department spokeswoman.
Districts around the state administered the tests last week. Although the writing portion is typically given on a Monday, superintendents were asked to schedule the other parts--civics, mathematics, reading, and science--to allow time for new writing exams to be delivered.
Some 270,000 of the state's 4th and 6th graders were affected. The state pays $16.20 to print, distribute, collect, and score each student's test, Ms. Howe said. State education officials estimate that it will cost about $98,000 to reprint the tests.
--David J. Hoff & Adrienne D. Coles
Vol. 18, Issue 28, Page 17