I hear from many experienced teachers who feel the emphasis on student test results has hurt their profession. But to young people coming into the profession, the situation does not look so dark. Education leaders influenced by European and Asian methods are raising standards for those who can enroll in teacher training, while making the training deeper, with more participation by skilled veterans.
Many more teachers are required now to earn degrees in their subjects. The Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation has set new standards for teacher training programs in which entrants should have a collective college grade-point average of at least 3.0 and college admission test scores above the national average by 2017.
The higher targets might already be having an effect. An article in the quarterly journal Education Next by Dan Goldhaber, a former Alexandria School Board member, and Joe Walch, both of the Center for Education Data & Research at the University of Washington, says new teachers have significantly higher SAT scores than in previous years. Average SAT performance of first-year teachers in 2008-2009 was at the 50th percentile, compared with the 45th percentile in 1993-1994 and 42nd percentile in 2000-2001.
In the past, teacher candidates had lower SAT scores than college classmates choosing other jobs, but in 2008-2009, “graduates entering the teaching profession . . . had average SAT scores that slightly exceeded average scores of their peers entering other occupations,” the researchers said.