Tuesday, December 09, 2008

The Smoking Gun which puts to rest the claim that teachers need to be certified

In crime a Smoking Gun is piece of evidence which puts to rest all doubt about who committed the crime. For example if someone is caught standing over a body with a smoking gun it may be enough to convict them.

Homeschoolers have often been attacked on the grounds that parents are not trained or certified and thus not able to teach children like the "professionals." This avenue of harassment may be finally and completely put to rest.

Matthew Ladner's column Does a certificate make the teacher-or results? starts with a graph from a study which found that uncertified teachers are were just as effective as traditionally certified or alternatively certified teachers.

Stop and ponder that for a minute. All the training seems to have little effect on how effective a teacher is in really teaching.

Dr. Ladner writes:

This chart from the Brookings Institute may be the most important piece of education data I've seen in some years. The chart shows how teacher certification pedigree affects student performance in Los Angeles. Meaning, it shows whether traditionally state-certified teachers really are more effective in the classroom.
First, notice the incredible variation in performance by teachers. The most effective teachers, clustered on the right hand of the bell curve, move their average students up about 14 percentile points. Moving a classroom of kids from average (50th percentile) to well above average (64th percentile) is quite a feat.
Now look at the left side of the bell curve. These teachers are dragging their students in the opposite direction by approximately the same amount. These teachers took their children at the 50th percentile and dragged them down to the 35th.
Tragically for the students, we have a system of compensating teachers that insists on treating all types of teachers the same, and makes it difficult to remove the sub-par teachers from the classroom.

Identifying Effective Teachers using Performance on the Job, the study, is from the Brookings Institution.

Hopefully studies like this will put to rest the false claim that parents can not be effective teachers.

Technorati tags: homeschooling, homeschool, home school, home education, parenting, children, education


christinemm said...

Thanks for sharing this.

Excellent information.

However as my husband says there are a lot of people who don't let the facts get in the way of a good story. In this case it will mean the facts will not change a viewpoint that certain people don't want to change as they don't WANT to change their view or they will dismiss the fact as they want to keep believing the possibly wrong view.

kat said...

One big issue that is not mentioned is the learning curve for the teachers themselves. I would guess that many/most of the poor teachers are on the right side of the chart because it takes time to become good at the mechanics of teaching large groups of children with widely varying abilities. Also, teaching has a high drop-out rate for professions, over 50% quit in the first 5 years. Those who stay are the better ones for the most part.

I was a licenced teacher but am a much better homeschooler than a classroom teacher, but then I quit during my student teaching after I found out I was pregnant!

Tiffany Ludwig said...

I have been teaching for 6 years, but my first four were at a private school. My bachelor's degree is in English, and I am (or was) currently in the process of completing the alternative certification program. (not sure if I am going to continue) I have to say that getting certified is basically just jumping through hoops. It's nothing but a dog and pony show full of submitting busy work. As teachers, we should know that busy work is pointless. Is being certified going to make me a better teacher? Of course not. It's just a piece of paper. The thing that stinks, though, is that sometimes people look at you like you aren't as good because you aren't certified. I was glad to see this statistic. Thanks for the post.