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Teaching Profession Letter to the Editor

Teacher Ed. Study Piece Does Not Tell Full Story

January 31, 2012 2 min read
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To the Editor:

I was gratified to see the Teacher Education Study in Mathematics, or TEDS-M, research reported in your Quality Counts report (“Teacher Training Has Key Role to Play,” Jan. 12, 2012). But while I agree with most of what the article says, I’m afraid it will cause some misunderstanding. Points important to emphasize include:

1) Teachers were not tested. Instead, data were collected from nationally representative samples of students in the last year of teacher education programs.

2) Instead of relying inappropriately on American or other existing tests, TEDS-M developed tests specifically for the 17 TEDS-M participating countries.

3) The article does not do justice to the organization of the study. William H. Schmidt of Michigan State University was very important as the TEDS-M national research coordinator for the United States. Still, he was but one of 17 such coordinators. He was mainly responsible for representing the United States in advising on design, collecting U.S. data, and producing a U.S. national report.

4) The international design, management, and reporting was primarily the work of others. Like the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) and the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS), TEDS-M is an International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA) study; it is not just a U.S. study.

Michigan State and the Australian Council for Educational Research, or ACER, were chosen by the IEA as the lead institutions with six co-directors (Teresa Tatto, Sharon Senk, and myself at Michigan State; Lawrence Ingvarson, Ray Peck, and Glenn Rowley at ACER) working with the 17 national research coordinators, the IEA secretariat in Amsterdam, and the IEA Data Processing Center in Hamburg.

5) As the IEA’s first teacher education study, its first in higher education, and the first international assessment of learning outcomes in all higher education based on national samples, TEDS-M paves the way for other international assessments in these domains.

6) Admittedly, in defense of the article, much remains to be reported, and the article is based largely on the U.S. national report. No international reports have been released. We expect four out this year.

Jack Schwille

Professor and Assistant Dean

International Studies in Education Michigan State University

East Lansing, Mich.

The writer was a co-director and co-principal investigator for TEDS-M.

A version of this article appeared in the February 01, 2012 edition of Education Week as Teacher Ed. Study Piece Does Not Tell Full Story

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