Study Design and Method
A researcher at the Educational Testing Service (ETS) examined college students’ performance on the SAT, Praxis II licensure tests of content knowledge, and undergraduate GPAs to determine whether this assertion was true.
Teacher candidates today have stronger undergraduate GPAs than their predecessors with over 80% of them reporting a 3.00 or higher GPA. A smaller proportion of candidates taking Praxis II are passing it, primarily because states have raised their licensure requirements. Both candidates who have completed teacher education programs and those in alternate route programs have stronger academic profiles than in the past across ethnic, racial, and gender groups.
The research data indicated that candidates in secondary programs had verbal SAT scores at least as strong as other college students and sometimes stronger. Teacher candidates in math and science had math SAT scores well above other college graduates. Although scores on the verbal and math portions of the SAT are improving, candidates in elementary, special, and physical education score lower than other college students. The academic profiles of middle level teacher candidates are more like elementary teachers than secondary teachers.
To ensure that more candidates pass the content test for licensure, colleges and universities may consider raising requirements such as GPAs for admission into teacher education. An analysis of candidate performance on licensure tests, their performance on authentic assessments such as performance in student teaching, and the achievement of their students during the first years of practice could provide valuable information about the predictability of current assessments for determining successful practice in classrooms.
Source: Gitomer, D. H. (2007). Teacher quality in a changing policy landscape: Improvements in the teacher pool. Princeton, NJ: Educational Testing Service.
CONNECTING TO THE CLASSROOM
This chapter has provided you with some basic information about how schools and the education of different students have evolved to the schools we know today. Below are some key principles for applying the information in this chapter to the classroom.
1. The history of education helps us understand teaching practices that have been tried previously by educators, the reasons for their falling out of favor, and the possibility of their recycling again as desirable practice.
2. Teachers in primary, middle, and high schools are expected to provide age-appropriate education for students based on research on child and adolescent development.
3. Good teachers are able to analyze and evaluate the different curriculum packages their school districts are likely to impose on them during their careers and make wise, pedagogically sound decisions about their use in their classrooms.
4. The Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s and 1970s was the foundation for ensuring that an equal education could finally be accessible to all children regardless of their race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, language, gender, and abilities.
5. Expectations for the high academic achievement of teachers continues to rise in these times of accountability.
This chapter reviewed key developments over the past four centuries that established public schools and influenced the schools you know today. The following five major topics were discussed:
· Establishment of public schools in the United States. The Constitution gave the responsibility for education to states, which were expected to provide schools for their children.
· Schools designed by students’ age. As scholars learned more about child and adolescent development, schools were divided into grade levels to meet the needs of early childhood, elementary, middle level, and high school students.
· Historical influences on the school curriculum. The curriculum has been influenced by strong religious and nationalistic themes, the industrial revolution in the 1800s, the progressive movement in the early 1900s, and the launching of the first satellite by the Soviet Union in 1957.
· Education and equality. When students of color began attending school, they were enrolled in segregated schools, which did not change until schools were desegregated in the 1960s.
· The evolution of teaching. The preparation of teachers has evolved from the requirement for completion of elementary school in colonial days to a college degree today.
CLASS DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
1. Today Americans assume that a free and universal education is a “right,” but that has not always been the case. If you had been a participant in the various debates of the past three centuries, why would you have argued for, or against, the state establishing common schools? How would you have argued about citizens being taxed to pay for public schools for all children? What is the relationship of these issues to debates today about vouchers to attend private schools, charter schools, and decreases in state support of public education?
2. You have probably decided that you want to teach students of a specific age. How long have schools for this group of students existed and what makes students of this age different from students at a different level? Why have you chosen to work with children of this age, and how will you learn the age-appropriate strategies for these students?
3. The Industrial Revolution, progressiveness, and Sputnik I are among societal changes that have impacted the school curriculum over the past 200 years. What remnants of these events and the early emphasis on religion and nationalism are reflected in today’s schools?
4. Historically, not all children have had access to the same quality of education, sometimes legally not being allowed to either attend school or attend school with white students. What factors led to the changes in equal educational opportunity that occurred in the 1960s and 1970s? How has education changed for students of color since the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision by the Supreme Court?
5. The education level of today’s teachers is much higher than in the past. In what other ways have the conditions of teaching changed over the past two centuries? What conditions appear to remain little changed from the past?
|Free and universal education
|Jim Crow laws
|De facto segregation