Teacher Preparation

Teachers’ Colleges Call For Uniform Testing

By Julie Blair — February 05, 2003 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

In an attempt to curtail criticism of college-based teacher-training programs and improve the quality of their graduates, the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education is calling for a national evaluation system for prospective educators, as well as the development of a database that links their alma maters to pre-K-12 student performance.

The initiatives, approved as part of a broader “accountability statement,” were adopted unanimously by the board of directors at AACTE’s annual meeting, held here Jan. 24-27. Twenty-two of the 23 board members were present for the vote.

Although AACTE hasn’t detailed a strategy to develop or pay for the efforts, the move signals the degree of pressure on colleges and universities to provide evidence of their teacher programs’ value.

Critics have grown increasingly vocal in contending that college-based teacher training is inefficient, expensive, and of inadequate quality. Simultaneously, alternative- certification programs pledging to produce teachers in a matter of weeks have become a common feature of the teacher education landscape.

“The purpose [of the association’s initiatives] is to be able to showcase and demonstrate ... our graduates can make a difference in the level of learning of students in demonstrable and documentable ways,” said David G. Imig, the president and chief executive officer of the Washington-based group.

The organization will “retool itself” and “develop a protocol” to ensure research-based evidence is gathered and tallied, and will mandate that members contribute to the effort, he said.

AACTE represents more than 730 colleges and universities. Nationally, about 1,400 programs train educators.

“I’m tired of being beat up by the right and the left,” said Richard L. Schwab, the dean of the University of Connecticut’s school of education in Storrs. “If we have more data, we can give that a rest once and for all.”

He noted, however, that unless other accountability requirements are shelved, he would not be a proponent of the data collection envisioned by AACTE.

Some teacher- educators worry that AACTE’S initiatives will be nearly impossible to carry out in the current economic and political climate. Federal and state leaders must cope with a sluggish economy and brace for the effects of a potential war. And states continue to cherish their autonomy.

“No, it’s not practical,” said Jerry Robbins, the dean of the college of education at Eastern Michigan University, in Ypsilanti, who voted in favor of the accountability statement. “But it points us in a direction and takes a stand.”

Federal Help?

AACTE hopes that the federal government, in partnership with a coalition of national organizations, will help with the implementation of a common evaluation system to gauge teachers’ knowledge and skills, Mr. Imig said.

Such a method would ensure that teachers from all regions and varying types of teacher-training programs could be compared, he said.

Currently, states are responsible for evaluating and licensing teachers, but each does so in its own way.

The federal government also requires teacher-training programs outline annual passing rates on teacher tests, but the data cannot be used to compare states with one another.

A common assessment should be one of several measurement tools used, AACTE says.

Determining teachers’ impact on their students is even more difficult than linking it back to their college experiences, and thus, the endeavor should include the help of the federal government, Mr. Imig said.

In any case, AACTE hopes to see a database operating within five years.

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Law & Courts Webinar
Future of the First Amendment: Exploring Trends in High School Students’ Views of Free Speech
Learn how educators are navigating student free speech issues and addressing controversial topics like gender and race in the classroom.
Content provided by The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
Start Strong With Solid SEL Implementation: Success Strategies for the New School Year
Join Satchel Pulse to learn why implementing a solid SEL program at the beginning of the year will deliver maximum impact to your students.
Content provided by Satchel Pulse
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Science Webinar
Real-World Problem Solving: How Invention Education Drives Student Learning
Hear from student inventors and K-12 teachers about how invention education enhances learning, opens minds, and preps students for the future.
Content provided by The Lemelson Foundation

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Teacher Preparation Student Teachers Are Learning Outdated Tech in Prep Programs
Most teacher preparation programs aren't keeping up with advances in technology, concludes a report scheduled to be discussed at ISTE.
5 min read
Hand of a trainer addressing group of females sitting in a conference hall.
E+/Getty
Teacher Preparation Opinion What’s Ahead for the Nation's First Federally Approved Teacher-Apprenticeship Program?
The model promises to make licensure less costly while opening the profession to a broader pool of potential candidates.
5 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty
Teacher Preparation Alternative Certification Programs Are Booming. But Candidates Aren't Finishing
These non-university-based programs enroll more teachers of color and tend to be cheaper, but quality control remains a concern.
7 min read
In this photo taken Sept. 1, 2011, Michael Darmas "high fives" a student at Holmes Elementary School in Miami. In a distressed neighborhood north of Miami's gleaming downtown, a group of enthusiastic but inexperienced instructors from Teach for America is trying to make progress where more veteran teachers have had difficulty: raising students' reading and math scores.
Michael Darmas, a Teach For America instructor, gives his student a high five in this 2011 photo taken at Holmes Elementary School in Miami.
J Pat Carter/AP
Teacher Preparation Are Aspiring Elementary Teachers Learning Enough Math?
Teacher-prep programs don’t always dedicate enough time to elementary math coursework, a report finds.
6 min read
Elementary students writing math equations on a whiteboard with teacher near by.
iStock/Getty Images Plus