1/10/2007

Don't Forget The Teachers, Says LDH

"Whatever one thinks about the 5-year-old federal law," writes Linda Darling-Hammond about NCLB in a commentary from this week's EdWeek (A Marshall Plan for Teaching), "it’s clear that developing more-skillful teaching is a sine qua non for attaining higher and more equitable achievement for students in the United States."

UPDATE: Teacher quality could also be addressed through the still-unfinished HEA reauthorization, reminds another EdWeek article.

6 Comments:

Blogger Brett said...

An associate reminded me that Dr. Darling-Hammond was the principal architect of the now-discredited NBPTS. Why should we follow her suggestions this time around?

1:07 PM  
Blogger Alexander Russo said...

disagreed with, sure. discredited, how?

1:10 PM  
Blogger Brett said...

Discredited in the sense that multiple studies by Stone, Cunningham, Sanders, and others show almost no discernible impact on student achievement when comparing certified to non-certified teachers. It's an extremely expensive program with virtually no payoff.

See http://www.education-consumers.com/Cunningham-Stone.pdf for more.

3:38 PM  
Blogger Barnett Berry said...

Brett, with regard to the discrediting of the National Board, do you just listen to Bill O'Reilly for your daily news? I suspect you are not hearing the whole story. There have been 2 dozen or more studies that focus on the relationship between National Board Certification status, teacher development, and student learning — AND the vast majority of them show that NBCTs make a positive impact on student achievement and school improvement. The studies that show that NBCTs have “no effect” on student learning have some statistical issues. Indeed Sanders concluded that students of NBCTs “do not receive better quality teaching than students of other teachers.” However, he ignored the data indicating that NBCTs outperform non-NBCTs on 27 out of 30 measures. Granted these differences were not statistically significant, but given the pattern it seems something positive might be suggested. Other researchers have concluded that small cell sizes may be the methodological culprit here.

The National Board assessments are not ideal. For that matter no advanced certification exam, like those in medicine, accounting, or engineering, are perfect. I believe the assessment process can be improved and focus even more on the use of student data. Yet, teachers uniformly claim taking the National Board exam was the best professional development they ever experienced. Also, new research now shows the “spillover effect” on student achievement NBCTs can have when they reach critical mass in their school. Compared to the investment policy makers make in teachers accruing master’s degrees, supporting teachers sitting for and earning National Board Certification is a boon for the teachers, their profession, and the students and families they serve.

7:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dr. Darling-Hammond was one of hundreds of people--most of them practicing teachers--who collaborated to construct the theoretical framework and assessments for these professional teaching standards. Having rigorous standards for practice (and reliable and valid psychometrics to measure teaching quality) has been a great gift for the profession. Education Next, hardly a soft or left-leaning publication, wrote in a recent article that National Board Certification has "changed the conversation" around defining accomplished teaching. Teachers who sit for certification (close to 100,000) have shown that they desire high standards for practice, poking holes in cliches about teachers' unwillingness to set themselves apart as exceptionally effective educators.

In citing one (discredited) study, perhaps you're trying to align yourself with the folks who believe teaching is something that anyone with content knowledge can do well. Teaching is complex work. In the growing body of research around the effects of National Board Certification, the most critical issue in answering the question of whether National Board Certified Teachers perform better is "compared to whom"? In a state with few NBCTs, there will certainly be many teachers who perform at levels equal to or above their nationally certified counterparts. NBCTs are not necessarily the best teachers in the state--the only way that could be true is if all teachers went through the assessment. What National Board Certification means is that the certified teachers have demonstrated, through multiple performance and written content examinations, that they meet a high and rigorous standard of practice.

7:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How are we as parents supposed to trust the educational system? When teachers are fixing tests to make their students pass exams due to the “No Child Left Behind” mandate. This is ridiculous. Check out dailycents.com at http://blogs.dailycents.com/?p=819

3:41 PM  

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