Teacher Education: Easy A’s

National Council on Teacher Quality:

Using evidence from more than 500 colleges and universities producing nearly half of the nation’s new teachers annually, this report answers two questions that go to the heart of whether the demands of teacher preparation are well matched to the demands of the classroom: Are teacher candidates graded too easily, misleading them about their readiness to teach? Are teacher preparation programs providing sufficiently rigorous training, or does the approach to training drive higher grades?

Complete report (PDF).

Related: When A Stands for Average. Students at the UW-Madison School of Education receive sky high grades. How smart is that?

NCTQ notes and links.

Exploring the effects of high grades (PDF):

In addition to their failure to signal learning, awarding consistently high grades may, in fact, impede learning. As a Princeton University committee on reducing grade inflation reported: “Grading done without careful calibration and discrimination is, if nothing else, uninformative and therefore not useful; at worst, it actively discourages students from rising to the challenge to do their best work.”3

Several studies find that expected high grades are associated with reduced student effort, likely leading to decreased student learning. One study found that students spend about 50 percent less time studying when they expect that the average grade in a course will be an A versus a C.4 Similarly, a study of students’ expectations (rather than behavior) found that students expected to study more (and for the class to generally earn lower grades) in more difficult courses.5 On the other hand, higher standards may not lead to greater academic perserverance: A longitudinal study that followed high school students for more than a decade found that higher standards for coursework were associated with higher test scores, although not with higher educational attainment.6

NCTQ compares the States on teacher preparation requirements.