Two research-based perspectives on teacher certification and teacher preparation: the negative impact of some certification requirements on teacher quality; and, math and science teacher prep programs that really add value.

Teacher certification is on the agenda for next week’s meeting of the PreK-12 Quality Subcommittee of the Florida House.  To provide my readers (both of them) a chance to prepare for that discussion, I am recommending two papers posted by CALDER Center researchers during the last eight years.

The first is the 2011 paper “Certification Requirements and Teacher Quality” by Georgia State University professor (and former FSU professor) Tim Sass.  Here is the money line from Professor Sass’s abstract:  “Of the three alternative certification pathways studied, teachers who enter through the path requiring no coursework have substantially greater effects on student achievement than do either traditionally prepared teachers or alternative programs that require some formal coursework in education.”

You can read the entire abstract or even the entire research paper here.

Does Professor Sass’s result mean that all teacher preparation programs are crap?  Not at all.  CALDER researchers studied how well students in Texas learned math and science when they were instructed by teachers who had graduated from UTeach math and science teacher preparation programs at the state’s universities.  UTeach was originally developed at the University of Texas – Austin by physics professor Michael Marder.  The researchers found that “students taught by UTeach teachers perform significantly better on end-of-grade tests in math and end-of-course tests in math and science by 8% to 14% of a standard deviation on the test, depending on grade and subject.”

Once again, the abstract and paper are here.

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