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.


Budget & Finance Webinar Leverage New Funding Sources with Data-Informed Practices
Address the whole child using data-informed practices, gain valuable insights, and learn strategies that can benefit your district.
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.
Classroom Technology Webinar
ChatGPT & Education: 8 Ways AI Improves Student Outcomes
Revolutionize student success! Don't miss our expert-led webinar demonstrating practical ways AI tools will elevate learning experiences.
Content provided by Inzata
Classroom Technology K-12 Essentials Forum Tech Is Everywhere. But Is It Making Schools Better?
Join us for a lively discussion about the ways that technology is being used to improve schools and how it is falling short.

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 Teacher Apprenticeships Are Booming in Wake of Shortages. Here's What You Need to Know
More states are drawing down federal labor funds to support yearlong, subsidized training programs.
8 min read
Fatima Nunez Ardon, a teacher in training, teaches Spanish to second graders at Madrona Elementary School in SeaTac, a suburb in Seattle, Wash., on Sept. 28, 2022. Ardon went through a program at Highline College, a community college, to train to be a teacher.
Fatima Nunez Ardon, a teacher in training, teaches Spanish to 2nd graders at Madrona Elementary School in SeaTac, a Seattle suburb, on Sept. 28, 2022.
Ellen M. Banner/The Seattle Times via AP
Teacher Preparation Teacher-Prep Programs Miss Chances to Build Teachers' Content Knowledge, Report Says
Teaching programs should guide candidates to courses that give them broad knowledge in science and social studies, as well as reading and math.
4 min read
Photo of college girls working in lab.
E+ / Getty
Teacher Preparation Q&A A New Program Will Train Teachers to Teach Climate Change, Without the 'Doom and Gloom'
Climate change is a subject experts say goes beyond science class, and one that should be woven through subjects and grade levels.
8 min read
Photo of graph being drawn on whiteboard.
iStock / Getty Images Plus
Teacher Preparation Here's What Separates the Best Teacher Mentors from the Just-Sort-of-OK Ones
They're empathetic listeners who offer lots of constructive feedback, our readers say.
2 min read
Black woman watering and growing a flower in which sits a happy white girl.
iStock/Getty Images Plus